Even though I’ve been out of school since girls wore scrunchies and grunge was all the rage when I see all the back to school stuff lining store shelves I still can’t help but think about my time as a student.
My family moved around a lot when I was a kid so I attended dozens of different schools and had dozens of first days that weren’t always in September.
Being the new kid can be one of the most terrifying experiences a kid can have and it doesn’t get any easier the more you do it.
I always envied the kids who lived in one place their whole lives. I imagined what it would be like to have a group of familiar friends to travel up through the grades with. Starting a new school mid-semester was always the worst. The cliques had already been formed and I was doomed to play the part of a loner. Making friends is tough, so I started writing my own stories where the cute boy always asked me to the dance and every girl had a best friend forever.
My challenge to you this year is this: Offer the new kid a smile or even a seat at your lunch table. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it and remember your kindness for years to come. Who knows, maybe they even have some fascinating stories to tell about the town they moved from. What if he or she turns out to be a really cool person and you end up making a friend for life?
This doesn’t just apply to teenagers. Starting a new job can be daunting as well. No matter the age, some of us take a little bit longer to fit in than others.
I find myself relieved that I don’t have to navigate the halls of a new school anymore and try to keep a class schedule straight. No matter how many class reunions have come and gone, I still have the occasional dream about getting lost and not being able to find my next class or, God forbid, walking into the wrong one. Luckily, my subconscious puts me there with all my clothes on!
So, as you head back to the grind of Algebra pop quizzes and grueling homework, remember that you're all in the same boat and one friendly gesture can make all the difference in the world.
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