Jamila Wood ’18


Veeka Malanchuk, Staff Writer

Senior Jamila Wood has spent the past eight years attending Darlington and reflects on the time spent here. Wood feels her transition to Darlington was one of her toughest challenges.


“Coming in was a tough transition because if you come from a place where I saw teachers and students that looked like me, could relate to, could see some of them as my parents and then coming here was the complete opposite,” Wood said. “I didn’t think it was a bad thing, just kind of a shock to me and people’s reactions sometimes didn’t make it any better for me.”


While Wood feels her transition was a challenge, it was also an opportunity for her to grow and find her voice.


“At the same time I was really optimistic about my time being here. Even though it was so tough, I was like ‘it’s going to get better, I want to stay here.’ I didn’t want to leave again, I didn’t want to let people run me out of a place that I felt could be great for me. That’s what kept me here for so long,” Wood said.


When it comes to leadership, Wood feels as if she is more of a team player.


“I would never try for a leadership position, mainly because I don’t see myself as a leader. I see so many leaders, especially the students here, and they are so good and passionate about what they do. Honestly I don’t think I’m there yet,” Wood said. “But I’m a hard worker and always able to be a team player. I feel like just playing your part and knowing what you’re good at is your strength and weakness as a whole.”


Being a part of the Darlington Diamonds has had an impact throughout Wood’s years of highschool.


“My freshman year, I was part of the Darlington Diamonds and it was great. I made friends with five people that I still keep in contact with today, even when they are moving into their adult life it’s nice seeing them grow up and doing successful things with themselves. I couldn’t have met a more amazing group of people,” Wood said.


Theater has also played a big role in Wood’s high school career and has given Wood a safe space to learn and be herself.


“I got involved in theater because it was one of the few places I felt more open to be myself. I get to truly be authentic and so does everyone else around me because we’re all in a progressive space, and trying to be better,” Wood said. “And if you mess up, we see that you tried and that’s applauded. We don’t want to dim you, we’re not for negativity. We’re trying to spread positivity. I think it’s so rare to find that in high schools, so I applaud Ms. Daniel for creating a space for people to be able to be themselves.”


While in theater, Wood has learned life lessons from Shelly Daniel that she will keep as she moves on from Darlington.


“She emphasizes the importance of authenticity, and made me realize what authenticity truly is. Being yourself at all times without apologizing. It’s something I will definitely take, and will stick with me for a really long time cause I feel like it was something that I needed to hear,” Wood said.


Throughout Wood’s time at Darlington, Mr. Murray’s English three class had the most impact on her.


“It was just the combination of people in the class, you had cheerleaders, softball players, three baseball players, soccer academy, and also some kids from the arts. It was a giant mixture, and I enjoyed the different perspectives even though sometimes they were very disruptive. Mr. Murray took it and rolled with it, and he didn’t let him stop his teaching. He embraced every single one of us and our personalities when honestly he didn’t have to,” Wood said.


Wood feels all of her teachers in highschool have taught her something useful.


“I can’t decide on one person cause every teacher that I’ve had, if they were terrible or great, they gave me a new perspective and outlook on my education process. They showed me things I needed to work on and that I always have room for improvement,” Wood said.


Throughout her years at Darlington, Wood has had the chance to learn valuable lessons from her peers.


“Being in this school has caused me to change a lot, because dealing with people was different where I came from. I would call them out, not care and let them have it. But it was really aggressive and didn’t solve anything,” Wood said. “I’ve learned to inform people more, because some people may not know. And I don’t want to attack anyone for not knowing something because that’s not fair.”


Every year Wood has looked forward to RUMPUS, not just because of fun but making memories with her house (Regester).


“This year I looked back at all the past RUMPUS events, freshman year to now, and I love to see people proud of the teams that they’re apart of. Forget winning, they’re proud of being in a team, proud of being on this campus, and they’re proud of their dorm and the people in it. RUMPUS has done that for people, and bridged people together. Day or dorm, students feel a rare excitement that any other event cannot match,” Wood said.


Wood realizes the limited time she has left at Darlington and will miss the people the most.


“I’ll miss being on this campus and being apart of the events like RUMPUS, and chorus and newsroom but honestly I think the thing I’ll miss the most [are] the people I’ve had an impact on. Sometimes we don’t realize the impact we have on people, until they tell us and I think that is a big deal,” Wood said.


While Wood is applying and waiting for colleges she realizes just how little time she has left.


“My first choice is Howard university in D.C and right now I’ve gotten accepted to Clark Atlanta University and Morgan State University, I’m waiting on two others. I can honestly say I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to rush anything. I want to say that I’ve enjoyed every single bit of everything I have,” Wood said.


Moving on to her college years, Wood gives her advice to the underclassmen.


“Stop worrying about what your friends are saying about you, if they’re really your friends they would hype you up instead of put you down. Do not let people think that your too busy and boring. You have things to accomplish, you have things you want to do and some people just can’t understand that,” Wood said. “I’ve always been made fun of about ‘you’re always studying’ I have places I want to go, so respect my hustle, respect my grind and let me get to this. And the people who don’t understand that, they’re not your friends.”