21 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being The New Kid In School


I wrote this list when I was 15 and transferring from my town’s public school to a much smaller Catholic school. At the time I thought switching schools was the end of the world, something I would never overcome. Now, at 19 (and a college transfer), I realize how inconsequential it actually is. Transferring is nothing but a new building with new faces. Nonetheless, transferring schools at a young age did come with that paralyzing, walking-naked-through-Times-Square sensation. You’re vulnerable, you’re nervous, and you’re constantly wondering if anyone else feels the same way you do. Most do not, but these thoughts will haunt you nevertheless.

1. You can’t reinvent yourself. You are who you are.

2. Not all of your old friends will be supportive. And you don’t need the negativity from those few who are. It’s OK to think “but they don’t understand,” because sometimes, they really don’t.

3. Thinking you’ll make friends by not talking at all because you’re too afraid of being judged is absolutely NOT the way to go. We all know you’re not the quiet kid.

4. They’ve told you before, but it’s true when they say, “You can’t please everyone.”

5. People are going to ask you a million questions about your “past life.” When more likely than not, they don’t actually care. They’re not eager to start a conversation, they’re just curious and itching to make judgments.

6. Your first “real” friend will most certainly not be your last.

7. People will not always understand your sarcasm.

8. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the new faces, you’ll learn their names soon.

9. It’s ok if people fuck up your name from time to time. But know that the chances of this happening are slimmer if you actually talk and try to express your personality.

10. Making up stories like “I transferred because I had an affair with my bio teacher who then got me pregnant” is not acceptable and can and WILL lead you to endlessly awkward situations.

11. The few people you actually do know at your new school when just starting out — even the new ones you met at cheerleading practice — are not your friends. You just know each other.

12. People can see you when you cry on the phone to your dad after your first few days. Even in the back hallway.

13. There are going to be days when you pretend you don’t care and don’t want to wear makeup. Wear makeup.

14. Don’t assume people’s reputations are all accurate. You wouldn’t want others to be quick to judge you, would you?

15. People can see you when you doodle on all of your binders.

16. Don’t be upset when you find out someone doesn’t like you. Did absolutely everyone love you at your old school? No.

17. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s OK if you don’t know where the bathrooms are or whether or not you’re allowed to go to the vending machine.

18. You will become a pro at pretending to text in order to avoid interacting with people. However what you should actually try to work on is starting conversations and pretending to be comfortable when you’re not.

19. Not everyone will know what grade you’re in. It’s OK if they assume a new face is a freshman — don’t blame them for that.

20. Be careful what you say to someone you’re friendly with. Usually, they’re faker than they seem.

21. It’s extremely important to know that people are just people and they shouldn’t make you nervous.