A new chapter

Exploring a student’s experience with moving and her outlook on her short time at MVHS

Swara Tewari, Features editor

On Friday, Oct. 29, freshman Abi Carroll will be leaving everything and everyone she knows behind. Her parents decided to move her family of seven across the country, to Minnesota for her dad’s new job. She tries to wrap her mind around the idea: getting thrown into a new school of strangers and having to rebuild her own niche and image.


All of the little things she has internalized about MVHS — what extracurriculars to participate in, where to sit at lunch, what to talk about — will be completely foreign to her in Minnesota. But then, Carroll remembers all the big things she will be leaving behind — the hours of studying and work, sacrificing her passions for school and the constant academic competition. Suddenly, Carroll is excited to leave everything behind and maybe find a new version of herself in Minnesota.


“I’ve never lived in a place like Minnesota,” Carroll said. “I don’t know a lot about it, but I am excited to finally get a break from the fast pace of Cupertino.”


Carroll explains that at MVHS, she felt like she was forced to sacrifice her athletic passions for school work— or at least had trouble balancing both. She hates the fact that in Cupertino, academics always seems to come first, even at the cost of personal fulfillment.


“I think it’s pretty rough to constantly focus on what classes you have to go to and what level [of] math you’re in, how many tests you have in a week and if someone else has a higher grade than you,” Carroll said. “It’s a lot better to be able to focus on things you enjoy and balance both of them instead of just one over another.”


Carroll is excited to have more freedom to pursue things she cares about in Minnesota, as she believes that she will have more free time in Minnesota. She plans on joining the swim and cheer teams.


“I’m on the field hockey team and I’m always stressed about if I’ll have enough time to go to the game and come home and do my homework,” Carroll said. “I’m excited to do multiple activities now, instead of just one thing I like to do and then homework. It’ll be a good balance.”


Carroll believes that there is less academic pressure outside of Cupertino, not because of lower standards across the country, but because values outside the Bay Area are different. She personally believes that academics are important, but so are other aspects — such as socialization, community bonding and pursuing hobbies — that she says were absent in Cupertino.


“I think there are different values [in Minnesota],” Carroll said. “The goal is to get to college and be smart, but it’s not their number one priority. There’s not a lot of pressure on how good your grades are or if you’re smart enough. [In other places I’ve lived], people don’t judge you if you’re not in a higher level math class or if you don’t comprehend something as fast as someone else does.”


Although Cupertino’s culture was a shock to Carroll at first, she is no stranger to moving — throughout her life, she has moved four times and is about to embark on her fifth. She has lived in Nevada, Washington and different cities in California, from Cupertino to Ventura in southern California. Her favorite place she has lived was Ventura, as she has fond memories of careless days spent at the beach with her friends. Carroll explains that out of all the places she has lived, Cupertino ranks third as although she doesn’t support the competitive, tunnel-minded mindset in Cupertino, she will miss her friends.


“I’m also going to miss some of the teachers, because they do understand that kids have a life outside of school,” Carroll said “I did spend [four years] here and I grew attached to Cupertino, so I do have an attachment here.”


Not only will she miss her friends and teachers, but in a way, Carroll will ironically miss the emphasis on academics. She believes the emphasis on academics and success has two sides — on one hand, it has overwhelmed her. But on the flipside, it has motivated her to work harder than she ever has and possibly harder than she ever will for the remainder of her high school career.


“I feel like I’m always really pushed to get good grades here,” Carroll said. “I’m going to miss feeling proud that I got an A because I worked really hard, instead of just going there getting an A. I do think [that school will be naturally easier there for me].”


Carroll explains that Cupertino’s at times toxic work environment was a large factor that contributed to her parents’ decision to move her family to Minnesota. Her dad works at Apple and finds the workload at work to be overwhelming, which is why Carroll’s parents decided to move their family again. Additionally, Carroll explains that her parents miss the community aspect of life that they feel Cupertino lacks.


“People here aren’t as, sometimes accepting to new people and so it made it rough for my parents when they first came here, they had trouble making friends,” Carroll said. “I feel like people [in Minnesota] are going to be more into getting to know each other and building bonds rather than sending their kids to classes like they are here.”


Carroll explains that moving frequently has shaped her personality, as she has had to make an active effort to be friendly and adjusting to new people. She realized early on that being able to quickly adjust to her new school and community was integral in her unconstant life.


“Moving around a lot isn’t as big of a thing as most people think it will be,” Carroll said. “You just have to be able to make friends very easily [and] be able to adapt to different places. You have to be constantly make yourself a likable person so that people will like you more.”


Carroll explains that moving and living in vastly different places has given her a deeper insight into the world.


“There’s a different world out there besides SAT and homework and sometimes, it’s nice to step out of Cupertino and see that it’s different,” Carroll said. “I would recommend people here to step out and get to know other places besides this one.”