As I cried in the backseat on the way to my new school Mom was quick to say, “Don’t worry Doma, if it’s really bad you can come home.” The school gate was like a ghost, the first glimpse of something terrifying. The dense forest in the school compound had foxes roaming around. Their howling made me even more scared.
All these feelings had first popped up when the school called and said, “Doma is selected.” I wanted to go with my friends to the local school for junior and senior years of High School, but my mom and my education sponsor who has been paying my expenses and helping me for six years wanted me to go to Budhanilkantha School (BNKS) because it is one of the best. Most of its students are from rich families. Even children from the royal family used to go there, but I am from a low-caste poor family. At last I decided I would go. It is the best thing I ever did.
I started making friends. Nobody had ever heard about my previous school but I had seen theirs on TV or in the newspaper. All of us were from different ethnic groups, and we taught each other our languages, cultures and beliefs. In the rainy season, many insects come inside. One of my non-Buddhist friends would target them and before I could stop her that poor little thing would be flat underneath the book. She never did break that habit but I started to enjoy being with different people.
At the same time courses were moving fast. I wanted to study management and was nervous because BNKS offers only science. I found that quite easy but it took longer to learn how to manage time for studying. A few bookish fellows would scold us, “Go and study,” but we were learning to balance study for classes with learning other things. We were lucky that teachers were easily accessible because they lived on campus.
The school gave us a bundle of extra-curricular (EC) responsibilities in our senior year to explore ourselves. I love to dance and was made cultural captain of our house. I was excited to choreograph and manage dances for competitions. We also organized club programs, prepared proposals and budgets, and raised money from sponsors. I learned to manage programs and cooperate with members. I also learned that it is not easy to raise money.
I was in four clubs. In Creativity Club we organized an art workshop, inter-school art competition, and creativity week where I won six prizes. In Star Club we organized a two week inter-college football tournament. Near the end of senior year I was selected for the Mathematics competition at ‘Quanta 2012’ week at City Montessori School, Lucknow, India. It was a great opportunity to show our talents and meet foreign students. Some of us will be lifetime friends.
When I got back, I realized I missed not just a week of study at Quanta but also three weeks by over-committing to EC. One of my friends told me, “Learn to say no.” Suddenly I recognized I spent a lot too much time on EC. That`s because my culture trains girls to notice and do everything that should be done. Living with Americans will help me learn a better balance.
When I started at BNKS I thought I could not be with rich people or do well in science. I discovered that is not true. I learned I like managing things and leading people to cooperate. I started learning to balance many activities and commitments. Wherever I go to college I will be involved in many new activities as I was at BNKS. I have much to learn so I can be part of the generation that transforms Nepal.