Turning 14 and Looking Towards High School

Most people think that a thirteenth birthday is a big deal and I agree. I also feel that your fourteenth birthday is just as important because for most people, it means attending high school!

Ever since I was diagnosed at age one, my family was told that I would be lucky if I lived to see my second birthday. Turning fourteen and getting ready to go to high school is a milestone that I honestly never thought I would achieve. While a normal eighth grader going to high school would have tons of friends that live nearby, I’m the opposite.

I have been home schooled my entire life due to my compromised immune system. Because of this and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to make friends. In 2020, I finally was cleared by my doctors to attend school in person. All that changed when we went into lockdown. I never really had the chance to meet new people.

My current group of childhood friends, who are my “ride or die” friends, don’t live close by me and have their own group of friends where they live. In high school, I hope to achieve my goal of making new friends. When it comes to grades, I am the definition of a teacher’s pet, as my little brother calls me! I go into panic mode if I get below a 95% on any assignment. Most kids my age couldn’t care less about grades. It’s another reason why my teachers are my besties!

While I am absolutely terrified for high school and classes, I am going to do my absolute best and hope I make it. I am excited to take a tour of the high school soon and learn how to navigate the halls all over again in my new Stretto Power Wheelchair. There will be more hands-on science labs that I can participate in with iLevel® technology and I’m excited for adaptive physical education. I haven’t had the chance to participate in any physical education classes because I usually have therapy at that time.

All this aside, I have been virtual on and off since almost October, thanks to a cold that put me in the hospital, a broken arm and increasing COVID-19 numbers. And now, my school is making masks optional. While I’m all about being positive, from the looks of it, I don’t think that I’m going back to school anytime soon. I’m hoping that in 10 weeks-worth of school days, (yes, I counted) the weather will warm up and I can enjoy everything about summer and not spend a minute inside. Until then, let’s hope the power of FaceTime keeps us all sane. Until September 2022, when I finally roll into high school!

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.