Photo by Jannis Lucas / Unsplash

How To Handle A New School

New Beginnings Aug 28, 2022

 Exactly three hundred and sixty-three days ago was my first day at an international school, my first new school in ten years. Having spent the entirety of my primary and secondary school life at the same campus, not only would I have to handle the changes sixth form would bring, I'd have to do so in a completely new and unfamiliar environment. As is typically the case for someone transferring elsewhere, I knew absolutely nobody and had only been on campus once or twice before. Surrounded by strangers and sweating in dress code-abiding office attire, I steeled my nerves and stepped onto campus.

 Having finished my first year of sixth form college and a few days away from my second year, I don't think I'm much of a "new" student at my school now. Despite being painfully shy and perhaps allergic to holding a proper conversation, I still managed to make friends, maintain a good relationship with my teachers and get good grades. And if I can do it, anyone can. Here are a few tips I found the most helpful to adapt to a new school:

Don't Isolate Yourself

 Perhaps not the best tip when there's a global pandemic going on, so be sure to abide by guidelines and wear a mask to keep the virus at bay. So assuming you're going to face-to-face school and have tested negative for COVID-19, don't tuck yourself away in the most secluded part of campus to work or rest. While it might not be as quiet, sitting in the same room as your classmates - even if you're not joining in on a conversation - will let them know you at least exist. If you want, ask a nearby group if you can sit with them and introduce yourself. There's no shame in nodding and listening along as everyone else talks.

Do Your Homework

 This applies in the literal sense, but you should care about your schoolwork no matter where you're going. When transferring schools, be sure to familiarise yourself with any documents or handbooks the school might have sent - especially if they include a list of the school rules or dress code. When lessons start, make sure to record every class' late work policy and the assessment system as well as grading. What you're used to in your old school may not be the norm in your new one, and it's better to slog through a bit of paperwork instead of accidentally breaking a rule you didn't know existed.

Remember: Nobody Knows You

 In most cases, moving to a new school means new everything, and that means you're essentially starting over on a blank slate. Take this opportunity to try new things that people from your old school could never imagine you doing - without your reputation tying you down, you're free to present yourself as a completely different person. For the first few months, new classmates and teachers won't know you as "the smart kid", "the snob", or any other archetype that clung to you before. This is the best time to start anew.


Transferring to a new school is absolutely terrifying, and socialising and making new friends can be a lot to ask for introverts. But you don't have to be a social butterfly to get through every day - a little extra effort and you'll blend in just fine.


Ingrid Wong

Writer, poet and harpist - I exist on Twitter as @seaviolets