I know the feeling of walking into a brand new school where you know absolutely no one way to well. I’ve moved too many times to count, and if anyone knows what it’s like to be a new girl, it’s me.
Luckily, I was fortunate enough to go to DOD (Department of Defense) schools most of my life. For those of you who not might be familiar with DOD schools, they are schools on a military base specifically for children of military members. Because of this, everyone for the most part moved every three years and new kids were more common than not. Now this doesn’t mean it was easy to walk into a school where you didn’t know anyone, however it does mean that students and teachers at DOD schools were pretty used to getting new kids every school year and for the most part pretty accepting.
I was kind of thrown into a different reality though when my family moved to Raleigh the summer before my junior year. For the first time ever I wasn’t living in a military community or going to a DOD school. I was now attending a very large public high school school where the majority of kids had been friends with their group of friends since elementary school. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I went home every day for lunch junior year to eat lunch with my mom because I was really struggling to make friends in my new school. I drove back to where I used to live most weekends junior year to go see friends from my old school. It was terrible.
Junior year is suppose to be one of your hardest academic years in high school so in addition to being challenged academically, I was struggling socially. I sank into a depression junior year because I was so lonely at school and I was jealous of everyone at my old school. I started a graduation countdown on my chalkboard after coming home on my second day of school.
Although this was a terrible time in my life, looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Moving multiple times made me a stronger, more confident person and taught me crucial lessons like putting yourself out there and being comfortable in situations where I didn’t know anyone. Going into college, making friends was the last thing I was worried about because even though I didn’t know one other person going to Furman, everyone was going to be “the new kid” so everyone was going to be in the same situation.
Over the year, I have learned some invaluable lessons about how to be “the new girl” whether it’s in a new high school or an incoming college freshman.
1. Put yourself out there | If you put in the effort and don’t try to make friends I guarantee you are going to end up like me first semester and end up going home and eating lunch with your mom every day. Make conversation with the person sitting next to you in class and make friends with some of the kids in your classes! Meeting people in your classes is one of the easiest ways to meet people!
2. Get involved | For me joining the lacrosse team really helped me. I met some of my best friends on the team and suddenly had 24 girls who were automatically my friends! Sports teams and clubs are probably the best way to make friends. It forces you to interact with other kids who share the same interests as you, and the next thing you’ll know you’ll soon have someone to go to lunch with!
3. Don’t give up | It takes time, and although that may be hard, it’s something you have to accept. Keep going to student council meetings until someone notices you and go back to the second day of tryouts even if no one talked to you the first day. It’s hard being the new girl but one of the worst things you can do to yourself is to give up. Continue to put yourself out there and I promise you sooner or later, good results will start coming your way!
4. Sit down at a random lunch table | or in my case ask someone if you can go to lunch with them! I guarantee you if you say “Hi, my name is _____ and I’m new here! Do you mind if I eat lunch with you?” than only a really cold hearted person would say no. Although it may be awkward at first, try to join the conversation and get to know the kids you’re eating with!
5. Get involved in your community | Although it’s super important to get involved at school, I think it’s also important to do some things outside of school! You also may end up meeting people who go to your school! Not only does community service look good on your college application, it also helps to get to know other kids your age who could become great friends!
6. Be confident | Walking into a new school can be terrifying, but if you walk in the first day with you shoulders back and a smile on, it will make you feel 10x more comfortable.
7. Do your research | Before the first day of school try to visit your new school and locate your new classes so you’re not going in completely blind on your first day. I still find my classes in college before the first day of class so I don’t have to stress about being late! Knowing your way around the school and where your classes are can ease some stress walking in on the first day.
8. Act like yourself | I know everyone gets super excited about creating a whole new them when they transfer schools, however you’re best at being you. Sometimes it can seem fake if you’re trying to be someone or something your not. You’ll end up unhappy and friends with people you would never want to be friends with. Be yourself!!
9. Create a study group! | Once awesome and easy way to become friends with people in your classes is to ask a few kids in your class a day or two before a test is if you all want to get together to study together. It’s a good excuse to get to know some of the kids in your classes outside of school and on top of it you might benefit fro studying with other people!
10. Embrace your new situation | It doesn’t help yourself to drive back to your old town every weekend (like I did). It will make you feel bad for yourself and prevent you from being happy at your new school. Social media doesn’t help either. I was constantly looking at my old friend’s pictures and seeing the fun they were having together only made me sadder. Embrace this change and try to make the best of it!
What tips do you have to give to "new girls"?