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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Opinion: A Letter to GBHS: My Journey From Afghanistan to California

Hosan Aazim shares her experience emigrating from Afghanistan and acclimating to life as an American high schooler in her senior year.
(left) Hosan Aazim photo credits (right) Belqaies Aazim

Dear GBHS,


On the first day, I stood outside the school in front of the entrance gate, where there was an American flag. I stared at that flag for a few moments. I felt happy but also afraid of the unknown challenges that lay ahead. After two years of immigration, enduring restrictions, and being far from my family, I had reached America. The land of opportunities.

Two months have passed since the first semester began, and I had finally managed to register and attend school. I never anticipated what experiences I was going to get here. I was excited for a new realm and language with new friends, but I missed my homeland, Afghanistan. I longed for the flag of my country waving in the air, to enter my Senior year with my old friends and to spend the first weekend with my family in the park where we often went. I hoped all the children in my homeland would enter the new school year with smiles. Afghanistan, also known as the Heart of Asia, unfortunately, has been plagued by conflicts for a considerable period, driven by various factors, as people  vied for control over this precious land.

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Entering the school campus, I realized it was a very big school. Everyone wore whatever clothes they liked, unlike my previous school where we had uniforms. Students were chatting, making strange movements, and laughing in weird ways. I entered my first class ten minutes late. I greeted the teacher and my classmates and the teacher asked where I was from. I replied, “Afghanistan,” and she guided me to my seat. I didn’t know anyone, but I eagerly listened to the teacher during the lesson.

Having free school breakfast and lunch was nice if I ignore the amount of taxes we are paying. The school was vast and it took ten minutes to walk from the easternmost point to the westernmost point. 

The students were interesting, some in Halloween costumes even when it wasn’t Halloween, some with unicorn backpacks and some with large hiking-like backpacks. I discovered new things every day. The school’s course information book was 80 pages, while I had taken 35 courses at my old school. I had to choose four courses wisely, and being a curious person, it was challenging as a newcomer to choose classes.

The cafeteria felt like a bunker for hungry soldiers returning from war, with the noise of trays, laughter and occasional fights. It was a place where real friendships were formed by sharing sorrows. I didn’t have many friends. When the class bell rang, all the students rushed to the door as if the prison gate had opened for criminals to escape. Every day brought new things like rallies, spirit week, programs and competitions.

Due to facing difficulties such as language differences, entering school late and dealing with a large number of lessons, I didn’t have good grades in the first days of all my classes, ending with D’s or C’s. I tried to convince myself that not failing the classes was enough, but I was never that kind of person. Having gone through many challenges, I learned that when I can have the best, I won’t settle for less.

Imagine understanding only 60-70% of what the teacher says, translating jokes in your mind after a while and not realizing you have an exam until the last minute. College applications were another challenge; I received information just three days before the deadline. Staying up until 2 am for three nights to complete the college application papers was a real pain. 

As a newcomer, Granite Bay High School seemed like a safe, beautiful place full of fun and free food but also challenges. After one month I realized there is a weight-conditioning class and gym. There is also soda inside the cafeteria, and now after six months, I am still discovering more about GBHS. It now feels like my second home but full of homework!

The most interesting things are that I managed to achieve all A’s despite joining the school in the middle of the semester, completing the college application in three days and successfully getting admitted to one of the top UCs. I made funny friends and now, I comprehend much more than just 60-70% of what the teacher is saying.

Admitted students orientation at UC Davis (Belqaies Aazim)

From what I’ve seen, the opportunities for personal growth here are abundant. One of the most pleasant aspects of this educational system is the freedom to select elective classes, allowing students to pursue their passions rather than being confined to subjects they are forced to study. 

The abundance of clubs and extracurricular activities also led me to consider how this type of education can be far more efficient than my previous school experiences. I also liked the diversity of cultures here. Many people have different backgrounds and experiences that allow me to learn about other people’s cultures, lifestyles, educational systems and much more. 

I may have been in this school for a short time, but I learned a lot. If I could tell the students at GBHS one thing, I’d say, the most crucial lessons extend beyond how to find the domain and range of piecewise functions or understanding how the Civil War began. It’s about realizing that people’s opinions of you don’t define your journey. Learn to embrace yourself, mistakes and all. Live in the moment and cherish the little things: that one teacher who really gets you, doing assignments right before they are due, sneaking texts, being called on the intercom, extra points, candy, when you receive an excused pass and many more. 

Share smiles and discover joy even in challenging situations such as having a bunch of boring homework to do. Appreciate the opportunities you have and the everyday joy of learning something new at the top high school in Roseville. Many blessings surround you, often unseen. The things you may complain about are others’ wishes. Enjoy the VIP student journey you have!


Hosan Aazim

Senior GBHS

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  • P

    Priscilla SharifieMay 23, 2024 at 8:46 am

    I loved this article! I am so proud of you Hosan!

    • H

      Hosan AazimMay 23, 2024 at 12:59 pm

      Thank u my friend 🙂