Knowing that you’re going to be starting at a new school can make you feel nervous, unsure, and excited all at the same time, especially if you’ve moved abroad and are starting at one of the best international schools in Shanghai, for example. It’s definitely a big deal, and you shouldn’t feel silly for having first-day anxiety. If you’re going to be the “new kid” or are graduating and moving up to a new school any time soon, this handy guide has 7 top tips to help you get through the first day.
#1 Stay positive
You might be thinking, “Well, that’s easier said than done!” It’s true, though – a positive line of thinking and attitude really can make a world of difference. Instead of focusing on all things that worry you, think about all the positive things that you’ll get to experience – like meeting new friends, getting to try new sports, activities, or classes. Whenever you start thinking something negative, for example, “what if nobody likes me at my new school?” Remind yourself that, “In the entire school, I’ll be able to find at least one person that I really get along with.”
#2 Do a test run
Before the first day of school, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the route you’ll need to take in the morning. Do a test run of the bus, bike, walking, or car journey. That way, you have one less thing to worry about on your first day. If your school allows you to visit before the first day, be sure to take them up on it too.
#3 Make sure you’re all set
In the weeks leading up to starting at your new school, begin to take care of uniforms, books, stationery, etc. Then, the night before the big day, make sure your uniform is ironed and laid out, your book bag is packed, and your lunch or lunch money is ready. This can be a big relief in the morning and just means you have one less thing to think about.
#4 Don’t forget to introduce yourself
When nerves get the better of us, it’s easy to forget how effective a simple “Hi, I’m ___” can be when making new friends. Especially if you’re a naturally quiet person, it can be much easier just to sit quietly and only speak when spoken to. Although you can definitely still make friends without chatting to everyone around you, a simple introduction never goes amiss.
#5 Sign up to anything and everything
Extracurricular sports and activities are a sure-fire way to meet new friends and start involving yourself at a new school. Sign up for as many clubs as you can – you can always change your mind later if you realize something isn’t for you, and this way, you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one extracurricular that you really love.
#6 Plan something for after
Knowing that you have something to look forward to after you finish something a little stressful can give you a great boost in mood and energy. For example, after you finish your first day of school, you could plan a trip to the movies, ice skating, or whatever it is you would look forward to. Just knowing you have that fun thing planned later will make you feel excited about starting the day and give you a little extra morale boost.
#7 Go easy on yourself
Starting a new school isn’t easy. There are new routines to learn, new teachers, new students. Perhaps on your first day you don’t meet that many people you think you’ll be close friends with, or you don’t really like your classes that day. That’s ok – remember, switching schools is a big thing, and it will take time until everything feels natural and you feel like you truly fit in. So, just take things one day at a time, do your best, and keep reminding yourself that pretty soon, your new school won’t be new anymore.