Being the new kid at school can be a scary experience! It might seem like everybody else knows exactly how to act, but remember that you aren’t alone. Everybody is nervous their first day, but you can fit right in by making a great first impression, finding friends in your classes and activities, and learning about your new school.
EditIn a Hurry?
If you’re nervous about being the new kid at school, take a deep breath and set yourself up for success by picking your outfit and packing your bag the night before. On your first day, introduce yourself to everyone you can, and ask them questions about themselves like what their interests are. During lunch, look for a group of people that seem to like the things you do, and ask them if you can sit with them — it might seem scary, but it’s as easy as that! For help making friends in clubs and on social media, keep reading!
EditMaking a Good Impression
- Plan ahead the night before. You’ll feel much less stressed if you have everything ready to go before you wake up for your first day. Lay out your first day outfit, pack a lunch, and make sure you have all your school supplies ready to go. Planning ahead can help you get a good night’s sleep and feel less anxious about your first day.
- Choose an outfit that makes you feel great. Pick clothes that show your personality and make you feel confident. You may want to wear an outfit that’s a little nicer than usual for your first day, like a new shirt instead of an old faded one. Make sure your clothes are cleaned and pressed and that you’ve showered, brushed your teeth, and put on any hygiene or makeup products you need.
- If you’re hoping to attract friends with similar interests, try wearing a shirt with your favorite show, musician, or sports team on it. This can be an easy way to start a conversation and break the ice a little.
- If you wear a uniform, make sure it fits properly. Try to personalize it with some accessories that say something about you, like nail polish in your favorite color or a belt with your favorite team’s logo on the buckle.
- Do your best to stay calm and positive. It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious when you’re the new kid at school. To get rid of your nervousness, start by taking some deep breaths. Remember that everyone is the new kid at some point and that it’s not that big of a deal. You can listen to music that makes you feel calm or happy if you feel unsettled. Try visualizing a good first day in your mind instead of focusing on things that could go wrong.
- Use your body language to show confidence. Don’t come in on the first day with your head hanging down, your shoulders slumped, and your eyes on the floor. Walk with your head held up, your back straight, and a cheerful expression on your face. Make eye contact with other people, and smile if they look at you or speak to you.
- If you’re shy, do your best to pretend to feel confident—smiling and carrying yourself with pride will actually help you to feel more empowered!
- Introduce yourself to your teachers and classmates. Don’t be afraid to let people know who you are. Everyone is likely curious about the new student, so don’t feel self-conscious about introducing yourself to your teachers, the students sitting next to you, and anyone you make eye contact or chat with. Something as simple as “Hey, I’m Jessica!” will break the ice.
- If you don’t like being the center of attention, ask the people you’re talking to questions about themselves. It will shift the spotlight off of you and help you learn more about your new classmates.
- Be kind to everyone. Smile and be nice to each new person you encounter. You’ll make a positive impression and let people know that you are friendly. Avoid making assumptions or judgements about the students at your new school. It’ll take some time to get to know everyone and distinguish rumors from facts, so treat everyone with kindness and respect.
- Participate in class. Show your teachers that you’re interested in doing well by participating in class right away. Raise your hand, answer questions, and ask about anything you don’t understand. If you’re shy about participating, try staying after class to ask your teachers questions about the class.
- Try raising your hand and saying something like, “Is this story influenced by Shakespeare?”
- If you stay after class, try saying, “I sometimes have a hard time raising my hand, but I wanted to say that I really liked the reading and I thought it showed how people’s ideas changed over time.”
- Practice talking to strangers at school. It’s okay to feel weird about talking to strangers! But it’s hard to make friends if you don’t talk to anybody, so set a goal of meeting 1 new person each day. Start out small by saying “Hi” to someone in one of your classes. Then, try starting conversations with people you sit next to. Soon you’ll be able to chat with anybody!
- Try asking a question about the class or the school if you don’t know what to say. Something like, “What pages are we supposed to read?” or, “Does the football team usually win?” are good ways to start a conversation if you aren’t used to talking to strangers.
- Look for anything you might have in common with someone and try to comment on that. For instance, say, “Nice pin! I love The Cure.”
- Talk to the people sitting next to you in class. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone sitting near you. Comment on the class or ask about the teacher. Also, most people like to talk about themselves, so you could start by telling them you noticed about them that you like or admire. A comment like, “I love those shoes!” or “That was really cool when you told Josh to leave Sarah alone,” can open up a conversation that can turn into friendship.
- Look for a group you’d fit into and ask to sit with them. Look for groups of people who wear the clothes you like, listen to the music you like, and do the things you like. Ask to sit with them during lunch or during activities. Don’t worry—if you like those things too, they’ll probably want to hang out!
- For example, if you see a group wearing basketball jerseys talking about last night’s game, you can say, “Basketball’s my life! I got to see the Knicks twice when I lived in New York. You mind if I sit with you guys?”
- Add your classmates on social media. Add your classmates on whichever social media platform you use the most. Don’t feel weird about it, it’s totally normal! You don’t have to message every single person, but getting to know them on social media can open doors for conversation and friendship later.
- Try starting small by “liking” one of their posts. You could also write a friendly comment like, “I love those shoes!” or, “That looks really fun!”
- Join an activity right away. Joining a club or a team as soon as you can is a surefire way to meet friends with the same interests as you. Most clubs will let you join anytime, but some sports or activities might be tryout only. If you can’t join something right away, be sure you show up to the games, practices, or rehearsals so you get to know the students and faculty who are involved.
- If you aren’t sure what kind of activity or club you’d enjoy, sign up for a couple and see which one you like best.
- Ask to volunteer if you can’t join right away. For example, you probably won’t be able to be in the school play if you start school while it’s in dress rehearsals, but you can ask to help take tickets or set up the stage.
- Go to games and events. Attending sports games, tournaments, dances, and other events are great opportunities to help you fit in at a new school. Don’t stay home and wonder what everyone else is doing—go find out for yourself! It might be awkward the first time if you don’t know many of the students, but attending school functions is a great way to make friends. Strike up a conversation with someone that looks friendly and interesting and do your best to have a good time.
- Look for someone who needs a friend. If you’re too shy to talk to strangers or join a club right away, look for someone who feels the same way. If you see someone sitting alone or hanging back during a school event, get to know them. They might need a friend just like you do.
- You don’t have to walk up and introduce yourself right away. Start by making eye contact and smiling every time you see them. Then you can work your way up to an actual conversation.
- Try complimenting them by saying something like, “I like your jacket!” You could also comment about your surroundings, such as, “It’s so noisy in here!”
- Stay positive and give yourself time. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not the most popular kid in the school by the end of the first week. It can be intimidating to be the new kid, and it make take you some time to warm up, especially if you’re shy. Make a list of the good things about your new school, even if they’re small things like better lunch choices or a wider variety of classes.
- Staying in touch with your old friends can help you feel better about your new situation. If you’re upset or lonely, text or call your friends from your old school to catch up.
EditGetting to Know Your New School
- Look up your school online. Avoid being lost and confused on your first day by looking up everything you can find about your school online. Your school’s website will have directions, a list of all the important places, and maybe even a school map. If you can find a school map online, print it out or download it to your phone so you can check it instead of asking for directions.
- Arrange a school tour. Try calling the school and asking for a tour of the campus before you start. Ask your tour guide how to find the bathrooms, the gym, the cafeteria, and the library. If you already have your schedule, you can ask where to find each class.
- Email your teachers. Knowing your teachers beforehand can help ease your first-day jitters. Email your teachers to introduce yourself and find out where the rest of the class is in their studies, especially if you’re coming in the middle of the year.
- You can write something like “Hi, I’m Tyrese! I’ll be in your first-period math class. We just moved here from California and I want to make sure I’m not behind. Can you let me know what we’ll be covering when I start on Monday?”
- If you can’t email your teachers, introduce yourself on your first day!
- Find out if you already know somebody at your new school. If you’re changing schools in the same area or moving to a place you’ve already been to, you might already know some of your classmates! You can search on social media for students at your new school, or ask your friends and family if they know anyone who goes to your new school.
- Look up clubs and teams you may want to join. The school website will have a list of clubs, teams, and sports. See if your school has anything you’re interested in, and email the coaches or faculty leaders to ask if you can join. You could look up statistics or video of past games, tournaments, plays, and events as well.
- Ask for help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are confused about something. You can talk to a teacher, administrator, or guidance counselor. If you can’t find your classes, keep up with the work, or have another problem, reach out for help. You can also ask other students for advice. Chances are, the person who has a locker next to yours knows the trick to getting the lock unstuck, so don’t be too shy to ask for help.