We make choices everyday and those choices can impact our lives in an instant. I made
the choice of moving to North Carolina with my mom, towards the end of my sophomore year because I wanted to see if I could be at a better school there. This was hard for me because I was leaving my friends, family and even my relationship behind. New York was a place I never thought I would ever leave, but before I knew it I was leaving everything I knew behind.
Since I had already been visiting North Carolina for three years, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t a new place. My mom lived here and my father lived in New York. It felt peculiar stepping off of the Wanda Coach bus, knowing I would be calling Charlotte home.
After the summer, I was quickly enrolled into East Mecklenburg High School and this sparked my anxiety. One thing I had to get used to was the drastic change in schedules. Most, if not all, students in New York have a eight period schedule with each class being about 35-40 minutes long. At East, students only have four classes each lasting about an hour and 35 minutes. I did not know this and since my schedule showed eight classes, I was completely lost in the building on my first day.
East Meck schools about 2,200 students, while my old school had just over 400 students. Some benefits of being a student at a small school was that there was a genuine connection between students and teachers. The counselor knew the name and face of every student, so help did not feel intimidating. Not only did I build friendships there, I also met my girlfriend there.
The school I went to, The High School Of Applied Communication, was recently opened or established and like at any other school, was not perfect. East Meck has a huge variety of after school activities, which is amazing, but I was not used to this since my after school activities in New York were either soccer practices or the 40 minute commute back home. New York Schools do not provide students with transportation since we have the metro system in place. Normally, to get on the trains or buses in New York you would need a yellow METROcard that contains cash in it. Instead, the school would provide students with white METROcards that would vary depending on how far away a student lived. If you lived close to the school, you would get a card that would cover half the cost of your transportation while the rest who lived far away (like myself) would have free rides on weekdays. Which was great on holidays because I got to go anywhere for free.
Due to the efficient metro system in New York, I was used to getting anywhere at anytime without a car, but I quickly realized that in North Carolina it was much different. Although there is the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) here, it is slow compared to the Metro System. So I got a job as quick as possible to get a car of my own, instead of borrowing my parents. This was also something I never thought I would actually obtain in my teenage years, for the same reasons that I knew I would never need a car in New York.
Riding down the streets of North Carolina is definitely much different than walking around New York. By this, I am not just talking about being in the thick of it all (Manhattan) but I mean walking down the streets of my neighborhood, Ridgewood. Visiting North Carolina for the first time, I was not used to the sight of more people in cars than walking on the streets. When people think about New York, some think that their neighbors are someone they would not know or ever speak to but I knew and spoke with mine. Most of the kids I grew up with were right next to me, including my best friend, Alejandro, who lived two blocks away, so we got to hang out a lot growing up. To me it is safe to say that all the faces around my block were familiar.
Sometimes I miss the minor details of the city I was raised in. Whether it is the guy at the bodega, who was never surprised that I showed my face there at one in the morning for a midnight snack or the eccentric people around Manhattan. But I do not think I would ever change the fact that I did move to North Carolina. I have built great friendships and even though they are not around the block, it’s nice to go on rides around the area talking about life.