• Justin Kim

Into the Deep End: Lessons From My First Move



On the first day of school at Humphreys High, I was a jumble of emotions. I was fretful, ecstatic, and wary of what awaited me. To me, this was the first time I had ever moved to a new location. As neither of my parents were a part of the military, I never had the experience of transferring to a new region and setting my sights on a new school somewhere different than where I was accustomed to. Although many of my friends and acquaintances had also moved, I was still scared of the new experience I was about to face.


Although not much of a move, the thought of living outside of the metropolitan area of Seoul frightened me. Born and raised in Seoul, I never dwelled on the fact that I would one day have to move out of the city. However, the natural order that everything must come to an end loomed over me. I still remember the day when the speaker clicked on and an announcement ensued. The DOD educational activity located at Virginia would ultimately decide if Seoul American High School would close at the end of the school year of 2018-2019. Personally, I was nervous when this announcement came on because it could mean the first move of my life. Although it is nothing compared to what many other military teens have faced, this nervous feeling overtook me, and I could not imagine what it would be like to experience a new environment, new sights, and ultimately, a new community.


When we finally moved, I realized that there are invisible forces that keep the community alive. I have been all around the world, on vacations to summer camps, and throughout each one of these experiences was one idea that prevented it from being conglomerated to just one culture. For example, I often go to San Antonio, Texas, and there I participated in UTSA summer camps, meeting new people and creating connections that I never would have if I didn’t branch out my small, scared, introverted tree. This experience opened my eyes to see that the world was both interconnected and isolated. Although it may not seem like it to many people, each location is interconnected in a special way, bonded together by an invisible and intangible feeling.


As I think back to the feeling of moving for the first time, I was ultimately scared of being in a new community, one that I was unaccustomed to. Being so secluded in my small bubble in Seoul, I never would’ve guessed that I would learn to fit into another community, let alone one as big and diverse as Camp Humphreys, about an hour south of my former home. Losing that sense of community was the one thing I was afraid of, but after a year of living in Humphreys, I realize that almost everything seems harder at first.