My friends or a fresh start?

After being bullied in the past, I have an opportunity to move school — but is it wrong to leave my friends behind?

Our elder thinks you already know the answer to this…

Dear EWC

Hi, I’m in year 11 and soon have to make decisions about what sixth forms or colleges I want to go to after my exams are over. During my high school years I was bullied; it really put me down and I was in a bad place with my life. Luckily I had amazing friends who were always there for me. But some of those close friends moved away to different schools/places. I’ve made new friends who I equally love but they just don’t understand what I was going through at that time. And I don’t feel comfortable telling them about it. Since my school has a sixth form most of my friends are going to just stay in this school and go here. They want me to stay here too but a part of me just wants to leave all the bad memories in this school behind and start fresh. I believe that going to a another school would help me leave everything behind and forget all the pain and suffering at my current school. I don’t want to leave my friends behind; however, I know that you can’t have everything you always want. Would it be selfish of me to leave my friends and this school for my own help? Thank you for your advice

Dirk replies

Thanks for your letter. The question of moving on or staying is one that presents itself many times in our lives. Whether it is about school, relationships, friends, or work, we have to have an approach to finding the answers to the questions.

Many of these questions come down to internal “heart” versus “head” debates. The internal struggle may be daily. “Do I really need to prepare all evening for the exam tomorrow morning (heart). As long as I get a passing grade, I will be satisfied. No I will not be. If I study, I should achieve a high score (head).” Or in your case, the struggle may be between the recognition that with the departure of some close friends, part but not all of your life will be changing if you stay in place (head) versus the need to move on from what you have known “and leaving all the bad memories of this school behind.” (heart). I think that applying “head” or “heart” is not so immediately obvious in this case. If that is true, then you should try to get more information and perspectives to help you.

Your quandary over the question of staying versus going may get resolved if you learn as much as you can about what it would be like for you to attend a new school. “Eyes wide open” is the term that best applies for your situation. To the extent that you can, make visits to the area that you are considering. Go to the school’s website. Ask students for information. Visit the school. Then compare what you have learned to what you know about your situation at your current school.

Finally, with this additional effort you should be able to answer the question “would it be selfish of me to leave my friends and this school for my own help.” For me, your well written letter already answers the question, with a “NO.” I wish you well!

Letter #: 430675
Category: School

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