Meet Sanjna Tailor


When I arrived, the colorful slot machines and steakhouses in the airport made me anticipate the adventure of a new life. We walked through the halls and out the doors into the sweltering weather, so I took off my jacket and rolled up my sleeves. I had started the journey of my most stressful experience: I was moving across the country to a place where neither my family nor I knew anyone. In the middle of July, we departed from the Chicago O’Hare airport and got our one-way boarding passes for Las Vegas, Nevada. I thought of everything I was leaving behind in the four-hour plane ride: my old school, old friends, and old life. I was eager to finally be in Vegas, but I was scared of setting my expectations too high. With a sigh, I pushed the cart with our luggage towards the taxi.

By the time we reached our new home — an apartment in an urban part of the city near a busy intersection and hundreds of stores — my excitement had started to wear off. I was completely unaware of what lay ahead of me. Looking around at the bare apartment, I felt something unexplainable, which I now realize may have been trepidation. I thought of how I would probably never see the snow packed, empty streets from my second floor window ever again, and how I needed to get sunblock for the first time.

Aside from settling in, I had to prepare for my new school. On the first day, the sense of dread and embarrassment had rushed through as no one recognized me. Heads turned in my direction during attendance when my name — one that is very common in Chicago — was the first time my classmates ever heard that combination of letters together. I didn’t know how to make new friends and no one seemed interested in inviting me into their cliques. This made me become the “quiet kid”, a characteristic that none of my old classmates would have used to describe me. I would now sit alone at lunch rather than with friends. I used to anticipate recess, where I would be freed from the bounds of the classroom to play and talk with others. But at my new school, I was uninterested in even talking to the person sitting next to me. My shift from a loud and outgoing spirit to one that was more reserved affected my motivation. I was dissatisfied with how a major part of my personality had failed in my attempt to adapt.

Dealing with a new atmosphere made me aware of the fact that I would have to change how I approach the world. I was so caught up in trying to settle in and help my family that my personal interests and personality were suppressed, and I realized that intrinsic motivation is necessary to be able to adapt to a new place. If I wanted something around me to change, I would need to take direct action and not expect anyone else to do it for me. Instead of just sitting there, I tried asking questions in class. Instead of seeing the negatives of every situation, I tried to create possible solutions. I reluctantly started to talk to my classmates and eventually, I started making friends. A little bit of effort was all it took to adapt, and I didn’t know that small endeavors like staying after school to talk to my teachers or joining clubs would make such a big difference.

Many people experience moving to a new place, but in my case, this move introduced me to a whole new world. The changes in culture, way of life, and even spoken language made me realize the value of adapting. Whenever I drive through the city, the sight of bright billboards contrasting with the desert landscape always brings back the memories of my arrival: my amazement, my trepidation, and above all, my determination. The ability to adapt to my new environment let me find comfort in my personality as well as my new home town.