The Journeys of a School Gypsy

By Hannah Yerington

I’ve always been a school gypsy. For those of you who are unaware of this subspecies, I will explain. A school gypsy is one of those odd people whose lives seems to consist of change, who have itchy feet and never stay at the same school.

There are different gypsy categories: the troublemaker gypsy, the drama gypsy, the moving caravan gypsy, and then the very rare category which I fall into. I am one of those rare gypsies who actually thrive off of change and feel an almost physical desire for it. I diagnose this disorder change-dependent school gypsy (CDSG.) I have never stayed at the same school for more than two years.

It began when I moved in the middle of the first grade. I was home-schooled by my mother for the rest of that year, and all the angst of a recently relocated precocious first grader came out in full force. My mother, exhausted, sent me to a brick and mortar school for second grade. Most “normal” kids finish elementary school, go to the nearest middle and high schools and that is the end of their school traveling. However, I wasn’t sent to a normal school. I was sent to a German Brethren School, attended by a group of plain folk that didn’t watch TV, listen to music or wear anything shorter than knee length. My teacher wore a bonnet and the men wore top hats. I was the only person there not a part of their church. However, my time at the German Brethren school ended quickly due to the fact that the entire school consisted of less than 25 people, and when a family of six left, the school closed down.

In the third grade I was sent to another plain folk school, my parents having been so pleased by the last. I remember being the only girl without braids down to her waist and uttering the word ‘television’ around other students seemed like a curse word. I stuck out like a sore thumb, which is why I left after third grade.

I didn’t move schools because my parents told me. I left because I was never satisfied. I am thankful for every single school year I’ve had, but the source of the problem is simply because of my chronic addiction to change. I’ve experienced three home-school programs, three private schools, one performing arts school, two online schools, one public school and now Tamalpais High.

I came to Tam High as a sophomore, after a move from Tuolumne County, Sierra Nevada to Bolinas. I completed an online high school program through Stanford University as a freshman, which was a challenging, yet wonderful experience. However, the Stanford program became too rigorous to handle. I had no time to spend doing things that I truly loved. My art, fashion, and writing were left deserted. My understanding people completely supported my decision.

I never ran from situations or from schools. I just wanted as many experiences as possible. I had a goal for every year, whether it is to grow, expand my mind or spend a year writing as much as possible. Some years I felt I wasn’t challeneged at all, so I left. When school dragged me down socially and mentally, I left. I don’t regret a single move except for one detail. I regret that I never let myself make lasting relationships. I have friends all around the world and all around the U.S. I’ve been blessed to have met a very diverse group of people, and moving around so much has taught me not to be shy.

But, just because I thrive off of change, doesn’t mean I’m always happy in it. In my immediate social circles, I’ve never let myself be close to anyone.

Part of living through high school is a desire for change. As humans, we usually seem to be more comfortable with what we know. Instead, I’m comfortable with what I don’t know. So here I am, wondering how I can finally force myself to stay somewhere. I can’t let my desire for change compromise my high school experience. I have to finally allow myself to truly care about people and live in the present. I must battle the desire for change and make a personal decision to stay at Tam High.