Before I came to Deerfield, I didn’t know how to do long division . . . I still don’t. Coming from a public school in Nova Scotia and arriving at one of the most prestigious private high schools in America was a difficult adjustment for me—to say the least.
Back home, sports were my number-one priority. Upon arriving at Deerfield, though, I had to shift my focus to academics. I’d thought Africa was a country . . . So how was I supposed to decode Romeo and Juliet?
My transition to Deerfield was especially difficult because of where I come from. I live 764 miles away, and at the age of 14, I was lost and confused as to why I was even here.
I couldn’t manage my work along with sports and my social life. I sat in my first classes as a freshman and watched the 11 or 12 other students; their eyes were glued to the teacher because they couldn’t wait to learn.
When I went to class back home, the 29 other students were barely there. Many slept through class, and others swore at the teacher until they were told to go home. (They did this on purpose, by the way.)
While I was attending my public school in Nova Scotia, I never thought this dynamic was anything out of the ordinary. As far as I knew, everyone around the world was “learning” in the same way.
It was normal for people to skip classes and not have homework, and the casual hallway fight during lunch break was no rare occurrence. But Deerfield showed me otherwise.
Deerfield showed me that my old school wasn’t really a “school.” It was a place where no one cared about you or your academic achievements—not even your own teachers.
At Deerfield, everyone wants you to excel. Your friends, teachers and peers all believe in you, and I never had that before. Coming to Deerfield without ever having experienced that type of support actually hurt my confidence at first: it took a while for me to accept that others wanted to help, rather than bring me down.
It took me all of freshman year to figure things out. But with the support of teachers, my advisor, and my friends, I finally found a way to balance all the different aspects of my new life. By sophomore winter, I could finally say, “I got it.” And it was then that I was able to truly start enjoying my time here at Deerfield.