S: First Nine Years
BC: My First Nine Years
1: This book is mostly for my two loving parents: Daniela and Marius Tripsa. I hope you enjoy reading and looking through this memory book. It will be forever yours to hold. Along with the dedication to my grandparents for being here for me through all these years.
3: For priceless guidance throughout this project, highly attentive opinions and guidances, I would like to thank my teacher John Guertin. I also owe words of gratitude to my mother, Daniela Tripsa who encouraged me and gave me invaluable support.
4: When you tell someone to write their whole story for you, it is harder than it seems. Sure, you probably would think “oh, how easy, it's about me, how difficult could it be”. It isn't anything easy to write your life on paper. Then you tell the person, “Not your entire life story, just the problems and achievements in your school years”. My school years? The nine years that I have been through have not only caused me to use most of my physical and mental energy but also pain and suffering? Sure, no problem.
5: My name is Maxine Diana Tripsa and my entire life has been an uphill battle in school. Sure, its not like everyone has a sweet and perfect life with no problems at all but these are my problems. The ones that I run through more than ten times before I can learn my lesson. When someone tells me to write a story about my past years, I take into consideration the main points. I’m not going to sit and write each and every single day detail by detail. I tend to write more about the events that I learned something from or had the most trouble with. The problems that could teach my readers or that my readers could relate with. | I grew up in several different places since my life as an expatriate gave me this opportunity.. I learned new customs and ways of life from numerous points of views, and I began to assemble them all together as one. From the United States all the way out to Eastern Europe. A long journey that resulted in twice the learning.
7: Each and every one of us live our lives day by day passing through events that are soon enough set as memories. Our world began to introduce and establish ways of helping us to remember the events that have gone through our lives such as writing, pictures that remind us of that time period or simply just showing you a taste in the past. Also, videos that you simply watch to bring you back to that exact time.. | As we live on, every aspect of our life alters every second. We either use our actions, thoughts, or words to change something. As a result, our mind either is affected or our surroundings are.. Starting off on my memories, I simply use the options of pictures and stories to remember back of my past. One main aspect I learned was that each living organism starts out small and grows to be older. | It's the life cycle, and we have not found any way to change it. Us, as humans start out small and we usually grow to be older by either being directed to our future or directing ourselves by our own experiences. One journey that most of us go through in life is school. When it comes to learning, I see two roads that stretch out this subject.
8: There is schooling that explains more of the materials, world problems, and knowledge from books type of education. However, there is also the schooling that consists of the everyday problems one goes through or could go through depending on the actions one takes. So far, in my journey I have been on both roads but I have left more footprints on the schooling road which sets us for life in a more directing way rather than us setting our own directions.
9: From the beginning of my life, I had always looked up to people hoping to find directions or at least a hand to hold on to. It's been an uphill battle that consisted of numerous obstacles that I never bothered to pass on my own. As I grew older, I began realizing that I couldn't always depend on people to lead your way. That you have to learn to do it all on your own.
10: My journey on the schooling path started about nine years ago in Columbia, South Carolina. I remember everything about the first few years of school. I was young and naive. I gave everything a thought of consideration not even thinking through to what it was. I tried new aspects in school and with friends even if it were to inflict my life in a negative way. I, especially remember one of my first days of school. I recall being so excited to come to school. My thoughts were set onto new friends, new faces, and simply a life outside of the house. I would have freedom and would be directed by others onto the same road everyone would go through when they became older; or so I thought.
11: It was the end of August and the heat was still the same as before. Hot, sticky, and if we were lucky we had gusts of chilly wind. I remember having my mom take me step by step in the morning whilst getting ready. The bathroom process, dressing, breakfast, packing, and saying goodbye. Well, saying goodbye after having over 100 camera flashes in my face. However, as soon as I got into our Red Minivan I felt my stomach drop. I watched the trees and houses as we were on the road. Every little detail was taken into consideration and processed in my mind. I felt a little hope and excitement as my mom and grandmother were explaining how I should expect this day to be. I shouldn't be frightened after all. It was simply a few hours spent away from home with a bunch of children that probably go through the same feelings as I do now. There's a point for us to all be going through this part in life, right? It is simply not just to get rid of us for about 8 hours, right? I felt the worries wonder around from my brain to my stomach giving me the worst feeling in the world. As we pulled into a narrow street, a large sign was clearly posted in front of a large entrance. “TIMMERMAN PRIVATE SCHOOL” it read.
12: There is schooling that explains more of the materials, world problems, and knowledge from books type of education. However, there is also the schooling that consists of the everyday problems one goes through or could go through depending on the actions one takes. So far, in my journey I have been on both roads but I have left more footprints on the schooling road which sets us for life in a more directing way rather than us setting our own directions.
13: A small Blue and White Owl was posted next to the words. As we entered I already heard the ruckus. Kids running from place to place, older kids passing through to their stations hugging their friends a welcome back, and making new acquaintances as they strolled on throughout the area. Parents were signing at booths left and right along with trying to keep their youngsters in place.
14: I felt a small chill down my spine as I jumped on the sidewalk and climbed out of the car. Everything seemed so big to me, it felt as if I had gone through some type of shrinking vortex. I closed the car door and stared well at my reflection. I tried a couple of smiles and I suddenly felt my moms hand curl into mine. | I gripped on tight and walked toward the school. As soon as I saw the warm smiles toward my appearance I suddenly felt as if I were in the right place. I let go of my moms hand and gave her a wave goodbye. I was in a safe place, I felt it.
15: The problems with this road in life didn't start until later on in the years. I had always joined in school activities, helped out the teacher, greeted the new students giving them the tours of the school, and even tried my best for top of the class.. The stress didn't start to get to me until about 1st grade when I realized I was not the best at everything.
16: People were going to be better than me. Too bad, it wasn't an enlightenment factor of my life at the time. I always felt myself shrink when our teacher would ask an open question. “Maxine, how about you give it a try”, she would say. I remember, every time I would sink into my chair and give her an evil stare. I had always been in worry, but later in life my worries began to change into anger. Anger towards the ones that made me speak when I didn't raise my hand, the ones that made me try.. I had built a fear in school. A fear of presenting my own work terrified if the next students work would have more claps than mine. Or, when the report cards or test results would be given back to us and my desk mate would have a higher percentage than I did.
17: However, the one part in life that I would never forget would be the time when I studied and tried my absolute best in my Science Class in 3rd grade. I had hit the books every night with my grandmother, restudying every single little fragment to a greater extent that my teacher taught in class. | Review, Review, Review was all that I could remember doing. My grandmother had always been there for me whether I needed her or not. She would make me a test regarding what homework I had from school, then teaching me a new and more difficult way to explain my reasoning or work.
18: I could clearly saw that the 3rd grade had been the most intensive year I had ever put to school. My teachers were clearly proud of my efforts since they actually put in the time to explain to my parents all my positive factors, then my negative problems. But, as the year ended I started to feel a gap. It was all ending. I knew that the next year I would try to strive even higher. To get into the higher level classes my school offered. My mind was set to everything possible. Until I overheard my teacher talking to my best guy friend.
19: I had been cleaning up at my desk and headed behind the blue colored bookshelves to pick out a new book to read for the summer reading program. I perfectly committed to memory absolutely every part of that time. I had sat myself down on the “magic blue and green carpet” in the reading area and closed my eyes. I stuck my bag next to me in order to have a valid excuse for being on the carpet. | I felt my eyes welling up and my thoughts floating around in my head. “Why had I tried so hard? It was for the best, right? That's what my parents and grandparents have always told me. Even the adults I barely know always tell me to put education in front of anything else in order to get the best results possible. | “Lanson” she said. “I can honestly say that you have been my best student throughout the entire year, it'll be very difficult for me to see you leave my class and head into higher level work without me. I’m extremely proud to say that I was your teacher.” The words I heard literally pushed me into a different sector of the world. I knew better than to eavesdrop but I didn't mean to.
20: I did all I could this year and did I get the same treatment as Lanson? The boy that's probably top of every single class along with the fact that he's in the advanced program?” These thoughts and questions swirled through my mind as I sat curled up with my head between my legs. I finally appreciated the large bookcases in the class since it blocks out the rest of the classroom. I used to hate not being able to see what was happening when I was in the reading area. You could never see outside the large four windows that covered the classroom walls during reading hour. Now, I think back and realize that I was stupid for ever wishing that my teacher would move them. | I glanced at the clock and realized I had 2 minutes to get to the front gates of the school in order to not miss the bus home. My legs shook but I held myself steady. I threw my backpack over my shoulders and made my way out of the classroom attempting to not be seen.
21: “Bye Maxine! I’ll see you tomorrow for the end of the year ceremony,” said Mrs. Etu, my teacher. “Buhye,” I managed to muffle back to her. Didn't she notice that I had been there the whole time? That I probably had heard the entire conversation?
22: She could have come to me and apologized and said that actually I was the best student she had ever had. I should’ve been the one to be acknowledged in such a way. I thought back to what I was doing there after hours so much after all. Then I remembered. The summer reading program. I thought long and hard about it all and realized that I was too far up the corridor and too late to the bus home. I swayed down the halls passing the “big kids” lockers I’d wish to have one day. They were black and blue with pictures posted all over the place.
23: The lockers were much taller than I was. I never really understood why though. It was probably because of all the homework they had. As I walked on I remember the whiff of air that came into my face as I opened the large doors toward the buses. I knew my driver would be angry and I realized that the bus doors had already closed. I ran up and knocked on the window and I scurried into a seat trying to avoid the evil glares of the students that had to wait for me. I turned to the window and let it all out. | I had set into my mind that I would never be the best. Trying to a certain amount would be all that I could do. It’s not like I was going to give up in school. The last thing I would want to be known is the elementary drop out! But, I set myself to realize that I was not going to strive to be best anymore. It had all changed. My thoughts, my ambitions, even my love for coming to this place. It had all changed.
24: I stared out the window whilst trying to block out all the noises in the bus. The screams and the laughter. I examined each fragment I saw outside. The stores, the streets, the trees, and the bright green grass. The sky was covered with ugly grey clouds and the wind would sway each tree into the same direction. It seemed as though they were waving goodbye. Or maybe a hello. | I stared at the people walking around and especially the grownups that were taking care of business from indoors and outdoors. I thought toward my future. It wasn’t really far away, and I couldn’t even get a grace from my 3rd grade teacher. I wondered long and hard if these grownups had ever gotten a “good job” or a “best student award”.
25: My parents always told me that they were the top in school. Would I disappoint them with it all? How could I tell them that I wasn’t top? I had tried my absolute best but I had achieved nothing near top in the class. I closed my eyes and thought about it all. Thought about what I could do, or what I shouldn’t do. It was all a big blur to me at the time. Until I managed to experience more on my way down this road.
27: Not only did my problem with “being the best” continue for numerous years in my school life but my problem with realizing what was good and what was bad began to get to me. When I think back to all my past schools, I could literally say that my years that I spent in Forest Lake Elementary School were the safest years I had ever spent. From grade 1 all the way to the middle of 5th grade, I spent my life in careful steps. Students were watched carefully with their work, teachers would not tolerate numerous types of behavior and bad talk, and most of us were set to activities in school that not only expanded our minds with certain hobbies but also with creating tighter friendships.
28: Schoolwork was the main priority even though, play would sometimes slip in before. It was all set in stone. That’s when the big move happened. My transition from South Carolina to Houston Texas was honestly the hardest part of my life up to now. | Not only did all my memories and life rest in South Carolina but also my hope for my future. What was I going to do when I move? I could always continue with my hopes, but wouldn’t they be altered as I enter a new environment?
30: The beginning second semester of grade 5 was honestly the scariest experience of my life. I remember the day my parents and I came into the school to check out the environment and students. It was right before all students got out for holiday and everyone seemed so into the Christmas spirit. As I awakened from my sleep the night before I stepped in front of my mirror and put together my outfit for the tour of the school. A black and white polka dot t-shirt, black pants and my hair up in a pony tail. I dabbed on my lip-gloss and headed out the door. | I was so excited about that day. I remember being so anxious to just get in the car and go see what the school looked like. How the students looked along with the teachers. Everything that I imagined went together, perfectly well in my head. Too bad, reality caught up with me. We all walked through the large hallways whilst being guided by one of the school directors. Little kids went in straight lines into different sections and colorful art was posted in every single section of the school walls. Every room had a label and even the halls were named showing the students and visitors what hallway they would be entering. “Third Grade Comets”,
32: Soon enough we reach the “Fifth grade comets” which was the furthest hallway in the school. My stomach dropped as I stared at the sign. I could think if I should be excited or scared. I held myself together and I managed to turn the corner to the hall. I sighed in relief when I saw that the hallway was empty. I couldn’t take seeing new kids, or in fact them seeing me. Even today I never saw why I couldn’t live with it, but for some reason I just didn’t want to be known yet. Not just yet.
33: As the director spoke to my parents and I about not only the classes but also about the activities and students, I gazed through classroom doors trying not to be caught poking around. All the students looked fairly perky and nice. I imagined how it felt be to be sitting in the same class as them, making my own friends, just fitting in again.
34: Fitting in was always the biggest aspect in school. You can never have a healthy school life when you are pushed on the sides with no one to talk to. How would I push myself in school when all I would think about was my status in school? Just then the director knocked on a door and opened it. He clearly excused himself for interrupting the class and then said the words I was hoping to avoid for some more time.
35: “We have a new student coming into this homeroom class in a few days and I want her to feel as welcome as possible. I would like to introduce her to the class.” He then slowly guided me into the classes view and right then, I could feel myself shrinking in my clothing. Everyone just stared and I saw one or two girls turning each others way. Of course, after all the movies I had seen and all the stories I had heard I knew that people were mean and some were nice. | But in that moment I didn’t really have the thought to pep talk myself. I already knew that I wanted to move back. I would have a hard time here and I knew it even before I started in this new school. Monday morning seemed much harder than usual. Waking up was a tragedy, cleaning myself up seemed as if it were going to be a conflict, and just getting out of the door seemed a challenge. My whole body was filled with butterflies. My own skin felt strange and more terrified than my own mind was.
36: I held tightly onto a locket my best friends gave me as a going away present as I sat in the car. My mom would be talking to me about the school and be sure to just be myself. I couldn’t stand her talking, she wasn’t the one that had to start all over. How could I be myself when I didn’t even know who I was right now?
38: As the car slowed into a parking spot, I felt myself collapsing. The car never seemed so cozy until now. The front doors were filled of students coming in. My body chilled as I attempted to reach the door handle. I couldn’t do it. If I could do it I don’t think I could successfully. No, not just getting out of the car, but with all of this. Starting over has always been my fear. | My mom had already been waiting outside for some time now. I’m guessing she got fed up or curious of why I hadn’t gotten out of the car yet since she came over to my door and opened it for me. A large gust of wind blew at me pushing all my hair to a side of my head. I shivered in response. I unbuckled my seat belt with a quivering hand and threw my body out of the car. | As I assembled myself putting my backpack over both my shoulders, I turned my back to the car and looked toward the front doors of the school. I quivered once more than felt my moms warm grip touch my hand. I instantly chilled and reminded myself that whatever happens, I will still come home today, tomorrow, and the next day. It would all be ok.
39: Throughout my experiences in this move, I had not only learned the meaning of friendship, but also the meaning of betrayal, unfaithfulness, shame, and pain. I had been pushed around from day one here in Creech Elementary School and whenever I was ok is when someone was playing a “sweet” joke on me. However, throughout all my experiences the main aspect I still applaud myself about, even today would be the fact that I never gave up. I strived for a difficult friendship even though I was hurt on numerous occasions. Now looking on the side of school which comes to learning, that story drifted off long ago. When I first moved I felt as though I was understanding what was going on. I was always doing my homework, cooperating in class, and simply being a good student. But as the problems with my social status grew, my interest for learning decreased. I was so bound up in getting into the right group of people or simply just to be accepted by the “cool kids” that my interest in learning went down the drains. Teachers began questioning themselves along with my parents about what was happening. Why one of their star students took such a turn. I noticed as well.
41: My attitude changed, I was slacking in homework and test scores, and I simply just didn’t give a damn. But as I said before, you can’t focus on school when you aren’t successful in social matters. So, everyone should have been expecting a change from the new star pupil that came into a zoo full of cruel peers. A new beginning results in a new style, new look, and most importantly, a new mind. When working with other people and situations you mostly have to set your mind to being positive and not following others. Leading your own way with no U-turns. The summer of 5th grade helped me realize that no one could do my thinking for me.
42: If I decided that I wanted to believe in something, I would have to do the thinking on my own. On the night before the first day of Middle School I felt my anxious self get all wound up in my outfit for the first day, friends that I would be seeing, the making of new friendships which I was scared of creating, and simply the new school itself. In the United States, schools are not attached to one another. | They were separated. Meaning that grades 1-5 are grades that are stated as “Elementary School”. Grades 6-8 are “Middle School” and grade 9-12 are “High School”. Each big move meant starting in another place possibly with the same people or no one would be the same at all.
43: My big transition from Elementary to Middle school seemed as if it would be the hardest move to make, but I was honestly so looking forward to it. I wanted to show everyone how I turned out to be and how confident I had gotten. It was finally going to be a good year and man was I right. I finally had gotten into an amazing group of friends, my grades were high and I enjoyed going to school. Each morning I would wake up with a smile on my face and make my way outside to the bus at the top of the street. | Not only had the year started out well, but I also got to experience riding to and from school in a big yellow school bus. I never understood why but I always felt like a rebel walking so early from home up the street to wait for the bus. Or the times when the bus would wait for me to come to the bus when I was too lazy to “shake a leg”, as my bus driver would say.
44: However, it was all too good to remain perfect. Trouble began erupting. Not between friends, but at home. I had made a new friend. Michaela Holms. She was smart, athletic, popular and a little weird. We weren’t the best of friends but I could say we were pretty good friends. The one problem with this friend was that she was a rebel. Big time. She did as she pleased with no stop. I always awed her as she spoke back to the teacher or made a fit. I was astonished but each and every time she would get in trouble or be sent out of the class she left with a smile on her face.
45: No, not that sweet smile that makes you want to laugh, that smile of satisfaction. She brought me into the world of boys, trouble, and guilt. Not to care and to do as I please. Soon enough, I became sucked into this world. Her world. I began to do as I please which not only caused me trouble at school, but at home too, this negative way of being caused my grades to once again drop, loose the respect of my teachers, and also disappoint my parents. | I continued to be just like her throughout my entire 6th grade year. Some people couldn’t understand why I had changed in such a way, others soon enough began to follow the way I led my life. School became a battle and as soon as I heard the news from my father about us moving once again I opened the eyes of many other peers. I finished the year with low marks, great friends, good reputation between peers but also a negative status with the school authorities.
46: Summer of 6th grade, made me realize numerous aspects. Firstly, it was that even though I was moving I knew people cared for me. Secondly, was that I had to really push myself and fit into this new school and balance out my studies as well. Leaving my home country to go to a private school didn’t sound like a big deal but I knew it would be. It wouldn’t be an easy transition but I had to find my place. During the summer I had spent so much time traveling around Europe and spending time with my family that I learned something new about each and everyone of us that I never took the time to realize before. This summer was more of an enlightenment into the real world than a summer of only fun.
47: The school year was beginning and of course everyone would be getting hyped up. Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone. I was far away from home, therefore speaking to my friends was not an option. I was thank full for the orientation day which gave the new kids a chance to come into the school to check out the new surrounding, take our entrance exams, and simply get to know one another before beginning the school year. Usually these orientations were meant only for the new arrivals but I had also noticed that some students from the school were there helping out trying to make people feel more at home. | The morning of orientation felt like the biggest change for me. I had already come to the school once to take an entrance exam but coming in where there would be new kids and interactions was something totally different for me. I remember coming into the school so excited to see everything but also lonely since my mom had to stay more with the parents than us students. We were separated into two sections. The parents were to go into a community room in which the school would present all the classes and activities they had to offer, while us students would separate by school level.
48: Me being a Middle Scholar, I simply drifted off to my section where there were bound to be other new students. This transition from one school..as a matter of fact.. One country to another affected me but it didn’t seem extremely drastic just yet. It must probably be because I still hadn’t gotten the chance to move out and about yet. I was mostly in the region of the school and my own home. | As school started I was glad that I had already made a good number of friends that I could lean on when I needed them. I paid good attention in school and for some reason I hadn’t gotten into any trouble or drama in quite a while. That made me feel safe. As the year passed by I had noticed that the studies in this school were studies I had never been through. | I actually felt the I was learning something in each subject. I had learned new formulas in math, new ways to analyze work in English, new computer options in Tech Foundations and more. The teachers were all partially nice and the students were pretty ok.
49: I could honestly say that the drama or problems in this school could be forgotten easily since I had managed to pass through them quite fast. I had learned from my old schools a couple of things that taught me to move on. I appreciated that as the school year went by. New problems that I had never experienced entered my life and it was extremely unfortunate that I didn’t have the right advice as I went through it. Not only did these problems follow me into the following year but I did not learn from them until the end of the following year. However, as long as you learn your lesson sometime is all that matters, right?
50: Out of my nine years so far in school, I had gone through life experiences that probably will never be forgotten. The mistakes I made, the way I fixed them, the experiences I lived through, and the problems that will never relapse. It’s all part of life and I accept each and every part of my life with no regret.
51: This year was my last year of Middle School. I had all the ambition in the world to make it a good one. One with no drama, no conflicts, and simply just a year to settle everything and grow up. I got a portion of that wish. I grew up a lot. I learned how to handle situations along with striving in school. I managed everything pretty well. However the way I learned this was all through pain, conflicts and agreements. I have created tight friendships that I am not scared to expand anymore. I learned to befriend my teachers which not only helps me in class but also in normal hours.
52: School became easier in the way that I do not mind being part of the community. Education will surly become harder but it’s a step that I will have to go through no matter what. | High school is around the corner and I am pretty sure I will take advantage of this summer to find out exactly what I would like to accomplish in these final four years of standard schooling and where I would like to move on from there. From the beginning to the end of time you will only remember main points that you were affected by. I hope to remember most parts of each year in order to continue to look back in the past and rewrite my adventures.