Surviving Moving to a New High School

Laura is a 17-year-old from Ontario, Canada. She enjoys reading, traveling, and music. In her free time, she loves watching Friends reruns.

High school is tough enough as it is. When you add moving to a new high school and leaving your old one, things get especially complicated. This happened to me at the end of grade 10, when my family moved to a new home on the opposite side of the region. It might as well have been the other side of the world! Entering a new high school in grade 11 may not sound that difficult to some people, but to me at the time it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

Moving had a profound effect on my life. I was happy to move as the neighborhood was pleasant and the house was beautiful, but moving schools was not exactly on the top of my to-do list in my high school career. If someone had told me I would be moving schools the year before, I would have laughed and not even considered it. However, sometimes things we think are never going to happen do happen in our lives. I was quite content with my high school and fit in nicely. I was comfortable there and had close friends who I saw every day.

I was happy at my high school, especially since I was no longer a freshman and knew my way around. The mere thought of switching schools petrified me. How would I be able navigate to my classes? Would the teachers be completely different? How was I going to survive without my friends? Would I even have any friends at this new school? I was especially anxious considering I would be going into grade 11, meaning the students at this new school would already know each other and everyone would have developed their own groups of friends and not bother welcoming a new person. All of these thoughts swirled in my head and I began to dread going to school.

Looking back, I realize how much I amplified these issues and that I should not have been so concerned. Moving to a new high school isn’t all that bad, especially from my perspective a year later. There are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable. And don’t worry; it’s not the end of the world.

  1. Talk to people in your classes. Introduce yourself. Chances are, other students will welcome you first.
  2. Avoid confining yourself to the library the first week on your free time. Go sit in the cafeteria, even if you have no one to sit with. You would be surprised how quick people can be to greet a new student. There is always someone out there who will come and ask your name.
  3. Knowing at least one person makes the experience a lot less intimidating. If you do not know anyone, join clubs and get involved. This seems like overused advice, but participating in a sport or activity opens you up to a range of people who share the same interests as you and who will ultimately be easier to strike up a conversation with. You will already have something in common with them relating to your extra curricular activity.
  4. Prior to your first day, visit the school and find your way around to your classes. Familiarize yourself with the new surroundings. This way, you will not feel lost and have one less worry when you begin school. Also, you can get to know the teachers if they are walking around.
  5. There are other students who are in a similar situation that you are. In my experience, I automatically made friends with these students as they had not been at the school for a great while either. We were able to relate in that we were both new and could sympathize with each other.

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