Minute in My Shoes: Exposure to new environments developed student’s outlook, but she was born to be a Wildcat

Carleigh Franklin, freshman in secondary education, has lived in 25 places around the world including Germany, Texas and North Carolina. (Anna Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)

For Carleigh Franklin, freshman in secondary education, packing up and making the move to college was nothing new.

As a daughter of a U.S. Army member, Franklin spent her entire life moving. Texas, North Carolina, Germany and many more belong on the list of 25 places she spent her formative years moving to and from.

“[My dad’s] position is a chief warrant four and to put that into perspective … he is similar to a general,” Franklin said. “He is really good at what he does, and he is also in a rare position. … So he is wanted in a lot of different places, which is why we’ve had to move so much.”

Franklin’s family only resided in each place for one to five years and then it was time to pack up again. This resulted in a non-traditional social and academic experience. With each move came a new school and new peers. This affected Franklin in several ways.

Her family usually lived on or near a military base, so several of the schools she transferred to and from catered to children in situations like hers, and the material wasn’t especially difficult to catch up on. But, like it would be for any normal young person, the experience of transferring to 10 different schools over the course of her life had emotional difficulties.

“It was difficult to make friends,” Franklin said. “You make friends, of course, but then you move away, and the communication is an issue, and you don’t get to see each other. I think that was the biggest struggle.”

Franklin’s constant exposure to new environments also influenced her in positive ways, she said.

“I’m really good at adapting,” Franklin said. “I don’t really care who you are or how you look, I like to talk to you. That is just what moving around has taught me.”

While she admits that all of the places she lived have formed her into the adaptable and open-minded person she considers herself today, she also said there were a few places that she just enjoyed more than others.

“I lived in Junction City during second grade and went there until seventh grade,” Franklin said. “If I could say I grew up anywhere, it would be Kansas. It was really great … Kansas was definitely my favorite.”

She said it was great news when she learned her family would be stationed in Kansas again, this time at Fort Leavenworth, which allows her to stay in close contact with them while she attends Kansas State.

It was never a question for Franklin about where she wanted to go to college. Living in the Fort Riley area while growing up and experiencing the positive atmosphere left her with no doubt in her mind that she wanted to go to K-State, she said. Even with college opportunities open to her across the country, she said she always knew in her heart that she was born to be a Wildcat.