We received an email at email@example.com from a teenage reader feeling depressed about having to relocated and attend a new high school. She asked for advice about how to fit in. Although we responded privately, we thought we would share some of our tips for other teens to benefit from.
First of all, we were happy to know that the teenage reader was asking others and searching online for advice (and even more thrilled that she sent us an inquiry). We are here to help. The fact that the reader was looking for answers to her problem showed that she was taking action to help herself. Good for her! That was our first piece of advice.
- Keep a positive attitude
- Do not isolate yourself
PREPARE: It’s important to try to help yourself when you are feeling down. Don’t just accept negative feelings. Try to fix them. No one else is going to do it for you, because You are in charge of You. Along with searching online for advice, you can prepare in other ways. Set up a meeting at the school to take a tour before you actually start classes. That way you get to check it out before you are thrust in, and others get to take a look at you. You are the new girl. No one knows who you are, where you are from, what you are into, etc. You are the mystery that others will be attracted to. Give them a little sneak peek, and they will be looking forward to you coming to class when you start.
KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE: The problem with many teens is that they don’t try to fit in. They just complain that they don’t know anyone and have no friends. You have to take action and you have to believe that you are going to succeed in the new school. If you are dreading it or terrified, it will be written all over your face. You have to maintain a nice, kind expression and be pleasant to everyone. That way, anyone who is asking about you will say, “She seems nice.” If everyone gets a good first impression of you, then you should be able to pick who you want to hang out with. Try to project confidence even if you are scared. Make it seem like you are doing others a favor by befriending them. After all, you are fabulous, so project that confidence!
DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF: Finally, after you have taken action, and kept a positive attitude, you need to avoid isolation. Pick a group activity to enter. You can join the math club, the volleyball team, the Spanish club, the cheerleading squad, the rowing team, whatever you want to. High schools have tons of them. Try something you are good at, or something you have never done before. The school counselor is your best friend when it comes to joining up. Most of the school activities will have already had tryouts and already started, so the counselor is your only “in.” They have the power to make it happen for new students. Make an appointment with a counselor right away, maybe on your pre-starting visit. By not isolating yourself and getting involved in a group, you will have a ready-made set of friends.
As you can see, you can’t wait for things to happen for you. You have to make them happen. You can do it. Hundreds, no . . . thousands of students have had the same experience. You are not the first one and you will not be the last. Nowadays our world is much more transient, so high school students are accustomed to welcoming new students. Some schools even have a buddy system or school ambassadors that will help you adjust. Life is full of new experiences. Learn to face them head on and enjoy the ride!