The New Me: Reflections on a St. Andrew's education
Jeneffer Lang '16
Jeneffer Lang '16 is a freshman at Dean College where she is a valued member of the basketball team. Jeneffer writes: "My first semester at Dean has been a challenging one, but I have to say that with the solid foundation that I received from St. Andrew's, I truly believe that I was more prepared than most. Thanks to St. Andrew's, my first semester at Dean has been a positive one."
As a student, I knew early on that I was different from my peers. I can remember fourth grade like it was yesterday. No one realized the struggles and pressures I was experiencing day in and day out with my schoolwork. I always seemed to come up short, no matter how hard I tried. In class, I would physically be there, but mentally I was not. I would see the rest of the twenty-five students succeeding while I was struggling with all my work. At the time, I just did not understand why everything seemed so hard for me.
Even though I was only nine years old, I suffered from depression and would keep it to myself. Having trouble with my school work impacted how I acted both in and out of school. I did not feel comfortable or even worthy enough to be in school. The teachers would teach way too fast and I was not able to understand all the information. It was such a long and difficult year for me. I could not sleep at night, thinking, “What is tomorrow going to be like? Am I going to make it through the day without crying?” I could see in my mom’s eyes that I was letting her down, but I could not do anything about it. After telling my mom how I felt and how I was struggling to keep up, my mom cried. We both realized that this was not the school for me.
In fifth grade, I enrolled at a new school, St. Andrew’s in Barrington, RI. For me, that first day of school was definitely life changing. Being a part of a small class setting and seeing how positive and welcoming the school staff was changed my feelings about school right then and there. They taught me that there were many ways for me to overcome my learning differences and one of them was with hands-on activities that helped create a mental picture in my head. This was a way for me to remember the material being taught. These educators taught to my strengths and at times would adjust the curriculum to help reinforce what was being taught. They made me feel safe and confident that I could speak out without feeling inferior to my classmates. When I arrived at St. Andrew’s, I was very much an introvert and my self-worth was at a very low level. By my eighth year in this school, I truly felt like a leader. I no longer shy away from social situations and my interpersonal skills and self-esteem are stronger than they have ever been.
I continue to find ways to overcome my learning differences, and this has changed me into the more confident person that I am today. I am finally at peace with my school work and I’ve come to accept the fact that a lower score at times is not necessarily reflective of the hard work that I’ve put in. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will always require extra educational assistance.
Words cannot express how blessed I feel that I found St. Andrew’s, a school where teachers treat every child like they are their own. These exceptional educators have helped me build a strong platform of self-assurance and confidence for the next chapter of my life: college!