I am very nervous about starting High School because I will be the new kid. I just moved. I am the oldest in my family. I do not know how it will be at all and my parents do not know too because they did not go to High School in the United States. So I can’t ask them about it and get advice. I saw your blog and emailed to ask if you have any advice or tips for how to start off the right way. Anything will help.
Dear New Kid,
Being the new kid can be tough. In my experience, I found that making the effort to be social the first few weeks of school went a long way. Of course, you want to be prepared by knowing where you’re classes are in advance, having the required materials, etc. But we all know high school is about much more than what happens inside the classroom.
Try talking to people before class by offering a pencil to someone who is searching for one, asking what time lunch is to another (which could lead to you explaining that you’re new and where you’re from), and/or joining a conversation about a sport/show/hobby you like.
I’d say more, but I went straight to the source for this. I mentioned your question to some of my former students via social media, and male and female high school students rapidly responded with great suggestions. They’re all either in high school right now or they graduated last spring.
I hope this helps and good luck!
Advice From High School Students/Recent Graduates
“I moved from to a new country to start school and the biggest thing I learned is that people loved hearing I was from Canada, it was something new for them. So once a couple people knew I was nice they would tell their friends ‘Hey, you should meet the new Canadian.’
I am just about to start another school and I think I’m going to start with that too, it’s always good to have something unique about yourself that will make people remember you. Also, try and find a friend, someone who looks nice in your class right before lunch, and find other new kids! They are just as nervous as you and ready to be there for you.”-KS
“If people approach you to be friends, don’t be scared. Some people just really want to make your time more enjoyable. And even if the people that approach you are kind of overbearing they’re just trying to be nice. Also don’t limit yourself to one group. It’s okay to just have friends all around.
BIGGEST NOTE: Don’t judge people on what you hear or their first appearances. People will treat different people with different attitudes. I’m not the same around friends as I am with strangers. So basically just have a really open mind. It’ll pay off.”-BRJ
“Make friends with upperclassmen. They’ll have your back! Also, if you have enough money for new shoes- get those over a new outfit. Everyone notices shoes, hardly anyone notices new jeans. And maybe a new backpack, too! Remember that most everyone just listens on the first day because it can be quite overwhelming, so get to know people on the second or third day of school when you can ask them if they finished last night’s homework. Or maybe if you see the same kid in a few of your classes, befriend him/ her first because you’ll be walking the same path, so might as well walk it together! As far as lunch goes, because that can be really scary on the first day of ninth grade, just sit with people who seem nice. No, not the kids who look cool, because not all of them are friendly (I know this from experience!). If you don’t have to eat in the Cafeteria, eating outside is much easier! That way if you want to just get a feel for things, you can finish your sandwich while “checking out the school” and scouting for new friends. Who knows? Maybe someone might ask you to sit with them!”-RW
“On the first say everyone will be introducing each other mostly so definitely make sure you seize the opportunity to let yourself be known.”-JB
“Don’t do something to “be cool” or fall into peer pressure. Do what you wanna do and what’ll make you most comfortable! I make my decisions with keeping this quote in mind: ‘Would you be proud telling your family what you did?’ Put school as your first priority. That’s what will really matter. Also, it will help you with showing who is really your friend. If they are, they’ll respect you and your time towards school and they’ll understand if you can’t talk or hangout all the time. Friends should encourage/help you, not hold you back. Try out new sports/clubs! One of my biggest regrets is not being involved more in school. Also, I’ve made some of my best friends in the programs I joined! Even if you don’t find friends immediately, it doesn’t mean no one likes you. It just means you haven’t met everyone yet!“-MC
“JOIN A SPORT! Be involved! Doing Drama and Water Polo are the two best decisions I made about high school. Also don’t trip over dating because girls are dummies and boys suck. Everybody wants to trip over every little thing that happens. Be a chill person. Don’t take sides or pick fights. Don’t try to be everybody’s best friend either. Some people will never like you, end of story. As long as you like you nothing else matters.“-JJ
“Being yourself really makes the experience a lot better not having to put a facade on every day before school. Then most friends you make will last longer because people like honesty.”-BG
“Find a passion and stick to it. High school is easier when you have goals and an inspiration. Be original, be kind, and let your actions define who you are.“-AE
“Don’t be that type of person who needs to change to fit in. If someone is friendly to you, don’t be shy. Talk to that person get to know them. Tell them about yourself. The first day is always going to be scary, but the days will get better. If you want to get involved with a sport or club; do that. Sports and clubs create more than friendships, they become a family. I used to be the newbie. I had all type of haters and no friends, but it got better once I broke out of my shell from being in an all Christian private school to a culture shock public school. Friends may come and go, but family is that stalk that runs through your veins. The friends that turn into family are the ones to keep. Now I think I need to stop before I start quoting and preaching.”-NR
Also, teen blogger Abigail recently wrote a post entitled “Lessons From School” that might interest you.