If you’re starting over at a new school, the anxiety you feel is almost unbearable. I always hated being the new kid, starting off with no friends and having to talk to people when I was uncomfortable and shy. If you’re starting over at a new school, these tips that I’ve learned might just help you feel a bit more confident and focused.
1. Explore before
If you’re starting over at a new school at the beginning of the school year, plan to meet with someone the week before at the school. This way you can find out where all of the classrooms are and if you have your schedule already, you will be able to plan out your route from class to class. This will save you from having to walk through the halls with your face in a map. If you’re starting in the middle of the year, try going in on a Saturday to look around.
2. Pack Your Lunch the First Day
If you feel awkward having to approach people to ask if you can sit with them, bring your lunch on the first day of school. This allows you to skip the cafeteria line and choose a seat at an empty table and let people sit with you instead of leaving you in the vulnerable position of asking them.
The last thing you want to do is walk around scowling or keep your arms crossed. Smile and be open with people. They will be curious about you because you’re new. They will be looking at you and you need to make a good first impression, so come off as friendly and fun, not gloomy or snobby.
4. Watch What You Say
Be funny. Everyone loves a person with a good sense of humor. Don’t say anything about other people though. Don’t make fun of teachers, don’t criticize other students. Not only should you never do this anyway, but when you’re new to a school you don’t know who likes whom or what connections a person might have to another and the last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing to the wrong person.
5. Adjust Expectations
While you may have been the best soccer player or had the highest average in English class at your old school, you are entering a different group of people now. There may be someone… or even many people… who are more advanced in your area of expertise. Don’t be cocky and announce to everyone that you’re the “best” at something; you never know how you’ll measure up to these new kids. At the same time, while you may have been below average in some aspect at your last school, you may find yourself beating out all of the competition among your new peers!
6. Start over
If you didn’t like the image you had at your last school, this is your time to wipe the slate clean and begin again. Dress for the crowd you want to hang out with, be brave and approach people you wouldn’t normally have talked to. These people don’t know who you were, what social group you identified with… you can be whoever and whatever you want.
If you know what school you’ll be attending, it doesn’t hurt to browse through Facebook and find people who go to that school. It’s a good way to have a built in network of people you “know” before you even start. If people are already familiar with you it keeps you from having to answer awkward questions that people may ask.
Starting over at a new school is definitely challenging and can be a scary, stressful time, but if you follow these tips you may find it’s not as difficult as you once thought it would be. I switched schools 6 times, so I know how agonizing it can be to have to begin again, but you will get through it! Do you have any suggestions for how to handle a new year in a new school?