Makayla Baldwin: What does change really mean?

December 3, 2013 

What is change?

In the dictionary it says to “make something or someone different”; but what does that mean?

I think it means to be able to admit what needs to be changed or improved about yourself. The fact is that to really change yourself you have to actually go through the process of change … like getting help or helping yourself, going through the steps, and not just doing this for only two weeks. It has to be a month or maybe even a year-long process. You just have to take your time and do it the right way.

OK, so you are probably wondering what I changed about myself.

Here’s my story …

It all started in the middle of my fifth-grade year, when I started to think that I didn’t have to do anything. I was hanging out with some people who made me think this. They weren’t doing their work, so I thought I didn’t have to do mine.

I was so gullible. I got in trouble a lot because I let other people influence my actions. I even had to go to summer school. In middle school I continued to hang out with the wrong people. Sometimes I would skip classes. My actions were horrible, and I had to go to summer school every year just so I wouldn’t flunk out of school.

My behavior continued this way at the start of high school. I never knew that I was really doing anything bad until high school, when my assistant teacher said, “You know that these white teachers don’t care anything about where you go after you’re done with high school. You need to buckle down and do your work, so you can prove them wrong and laugh in their face.”

What she said made me really start to think how I would get named the “bad child” who didn’t do anything. I didn’t want to have that label. After that day I told myself that I was going to change. I want to go to college, and I didn’t want the colleges to see my record and see I skipped classes and didn’t do well in school.

In the middle of my ninth-grade year, I moved schools and went to Phoenix Academy High School. Phoenix doesn’t feel like a regular a high school. It feels like I get on the bus in the morning to go back home.

During my days at Phoenix, I have realized that I can and will do my best. The people at Phoenix really help me and give me a lot of one-on-one time to better my understanding of the subjects and to better my skills. The teachers really help you. But when you do something wrong, they point it out. They won’t let you get away with it. This shows me that there are teachers in this community who really do care about what their students do with their lives. Phoenix has really helped my process in changing and since changing schools I have been improving myself.

That’s what I call CHANGE.

Makayla Baldwin is a sophomore at Phoenix Academy in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She has been part of the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program for seven years. She is also a member of the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute. She plans on graduating in 2016 and going on to a four-year university so she can help change the world.

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