In the past month, there have been changes in the atmosphere at FMA. Change is often uncomfortable. It shatters complacency and causes one to deal with the issues at hand. Mr. Dan said that every time a student is expelled there is always an impact on the rest of the class, like opening a wound that must re-heal.

First, one student decided not to rejoin us when we returned from the holiday break. A few weeks later, while out in the freezing cold of our fifth expedition, two of the girls refused to continue and were kicked out. For most people, their departure was happy news. While these students were not inherently bad people, their routine insubordination and gossip added little to the group beyond drama and ignorance. We all looked forward to less stress and annoyance when we returned to campus. We wouldn’t have to deal with them any longer, and everything would be so much better.

However, on our return, I realized there would be no smooth transition. Its easy for us to be blind to our own unhappiness when we have a target to absorb the blame. These three students had been that target.

Many of the students thrived on the drama that circled around these three, enjoying the outlet it provided for their own insecurities and unhappiness. In their absence, the remaining students were forced to see their own faults and experience the discomfort that brought. Many had a hard time dealing with this reality, and quickly began looking for some other direction in which to focus their negative energy; much of the time the remaining girls became the target of their snide sarcastic remarks.

Surprisingly, this unpleasant treatment became the driving force that brought the girls together. It caused me to focus more on myself and my own goals. I decided I didn’t want to be a part of the negativity any longer, and chose instead to work towards accomplishing what I needed to do to move forward in my life. I started getting my own act together by finishing my homework, working with Miss Margaret to finish my college applications, and beginning a fitness program to get myself in better shape.

At the same time, all the girls decided to depend more on each other, providing strength and nourishing trust. In this way, by focusing on ourselves and being the change we would like to see in the school, we have the hope of creating a fruitful and productive environment for all of us.

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