Being the “New Kid”

Calhan, Colorado high school cafeteria.

Image via Wikipedia

Not everyone gets the chance to be brand new. But many do. And it’s actually quite tough to endure. But, as I have and am experiencing being brand new, I have produced a list of tips to make being brand new feel special.

  1. Don’t be afraid to be outgoing. A newbie’s main priority is to make friends. I know that for a fact. School will be especially tough without a circle of people who care about you and can make you laugh. There is no reason to deprive yourself of some potential friends, so reach out! The easiest way I found to start a conversation was to compliment some one. I know, I know, I’m not saying to go up to a bunch of people and fawn all over them, “kiss up” to them, but, if someone’s rockin’ some super cool bangs or a jersey from your favorite team, there’s no sense in NOT saying anything!  For all you introverts out there, I feel your pain. I have been the “quiet girl” for quite some time now, but going somewhere new gives you a fresh start! I found that in some classes, when you’re asked to do individual work, if you just ask the person next to you’s opinion on the question or compare answers, there’s something to talk about!
  2. Stay positive. The first day of being new will not produce a date to the Fall Ball or some best friends to see a movie with after school. (It could happen, but it usually doesn’t.) But, don’t despair! It was, after all, the FIRST day. However, if you put yourself out there, there will be some budding friendships. If there is a popular movie theater or downtown area lots of people go to, try strolling down to see who’s around. If you don’t see a familiar face, at least you’ll have gotten to know your way around. Get involved with your school, too. Check out the school events – such as dances or fundraisers – or join clubs / take classes that are interesting to you. Chances are, you’ll meet some similar personalities there and make some friends. Also, have a good perspective on being new. How many times will you get a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW start? I got to change my wardrobe, wear my hair different and hang with different people all because I wasn’t in a familiar place. If you’ve been itching to try a new style, try it! No one will know you’re doing it because they’ve never met you yet!
  3. Don’t expect anything – just go with it. This is starting to sound like a “dos and don’ts” list, but I’m taking the time out of my Saturday to type this for all you “deer in the headlights”s, so be grateful. Anyway, as I was saying, let things make their way to you. Opportunities, such as some plans for the weekend or an unexpected partnership, will pop up all around if you sit back and enjoy the ride for a while. I mean, being new has its perks – you never have to pass out papers because you “don’t know anyone’s names,” you can be late to class because you “don’t know your way around.” Being observant helps you determine things like: who would make a good friend, what teachers you’ll like, etc. (But don’t take this the wrong way – expecting friends to drop in your lap is not what I’m getting at. Talk to people, but don’t obsess over trying to make plans with acquaintances or anything. As long as you put yourself out there, you’ll get some sort of reward back, whether it’s a new friend or just a familiar face in boring history class.)
  4. Wish, hope and pray for assigned seating. Yeah, I know in your old school, assigned seating was the worst – the teachers never put you with your friends! I used to hate it too, but when you’re new, who will you sit next to? If you’ve got an assigned seat, you’ll always know! And, who knows? Maybe you’ll be seated next to some one who’s friendly, and it will take away the awkwardness of walking up to her/him in the hallway randomly.
  5. The lunchroom will be what you make it. I haven’t got any concrete tips for the cafeteria (because my school luckily had a program for new students to meet other newbies and other students before school started so we already scored eating buddies) besides, ask around your peers for a seat with their group at lunch. I would suggest asking someone you got along well with in your early classes the simple question of: “Hey, I’m new and don’t know where to sit at lunch, so I was wondering if I could sit with you?” If they are a normal human being, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem if you sat for a day or two with them. Instead of hopelessly running around from table to table thinking of who will accept you, you’ll have someone you’ve talked to already to sit with.

Hopefully this eases the frantic worries of new students ’round the globe. If it doesn’t, I tried, right? ;-)

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