The Arrow Summer 2019

A Word to the International Students – Tingting “Candice” Zhang Good morning. Coming here as an international student was life changing for me. I came to Oak Hill Academy two years ago knowing no one and speaking very little English. It was my first time coming to America being really far away from my home. I was unaware of the challenges that I would face here, and I remember there were many sleepless nights that I had wondering if I would be able to make it here all alone.

Luckily, as I spent more time here, I began to figure out the routine. I realized that the key to making friends was just letting time pass by and interacting with as many people as possible. I know it is difficult, but it really helps to let go of being shy and learn to open up to more people. Originally, I only engaged with my Chinese peers because it was easy to understand them. However, everyone in my Chinese friend group began to slowly talk with other students that were different from us. I was very insecure about other people judging me on my English. Overtime I realized that most people will not critique your speaking, and that what really matters is that you put in the effort to try to talk to them. This eventually led me to become closer to variety of people. Actually, one of my favorite things about Oak Hill is the diversity that we have here. Because of this, I have been able to make friends from all over the world. My ability to make friends has given me confidence in myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. The confidence that I gained encouraged me to become involved in the community. I did this by joining the cheer team. Being on the cheer team made me feel included in the school and most importantly, let me have fun with my girls. Some of the best advice that I can give to any international student is to try to become involved in as many activities as you can to keep busy and make new friends. Another thing that can help you is to try to always have a positive attitude. I found that when I smiled every day, people were nicer to me and started conversation with me more. At the end of the day, bad things can always happen to you, but your attitude is in control of the outcome. Overall, being here so far away from home was difficult for both me and my parents. I know they really love me but have high expectations for me. I believe the majority of international students are faced with this same obstacle. Our parents expect us to get into a good college, especially those of higher rankings. But don’t let this stress affect your happiness. You are the one that is in control of your destiny. Choose what is right for you and focus on becoming a better version of yourself, as opposed to trying to make others satisfied. Learn from the processes that you take to reach your goals instead of the outcomes that you obtain from them, for they may not be the ones you desired. You may not be the person you thought you

would be, but strive to be the person you are meant to be. Good luck everyone and hope to see you all in the future!

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