Starting a new school can be difficult. You might be worried about not knowing anyone or making new friends. You might worry if you are going to be popular, or maybe you fall somewhere else in the school’s social spectrum. However, with a few easy steps, you will start your school year out right. This can be the fresh new start you were looking for: an opportunity to realize who you are, and what you want to be–which can be anything from a cheerleader to a volleyball player!

Before school starts, take some time to reflect on your life. Make a list about what you like about yourself, and what you might want to change. Think of the new school year as a clean slate. You could get a new look or change your clothing style; these are little things that can help you boost your self-confidence. YouTube is a great place to learn new skills, such as hairstyle ideas, new makeup techniques, or even webinars on confidence-building or becoming more outgoing.

As the first day of school approaches, practice. Practice your new look, or practice what you might say. Nothing calms the nerves like being prepared. Make sure you have all the things you need for school: a backpack, binder, pens and paper. Decorate your binder with pictures of all the things you love–it is a good conversation starter, and will make you feel more comfortable! Also, it does not hurt to have an idea of what you will wear on the first day. Take a quick look at the school’s website, and see what clubs or sports you might want to join. You should also do a practice-run, and see how long it takes you to get to school. Whether you drive, walk, or bike to school, take a day to test out how long it will take you to get there. That way, you are prepared for your first day and you don’t have to stress about being too early or too late.

The night before school starts, prep everything. Lay out the clothes you are going to wear and have your backpack ready with all the things you will need, including having money or having a lunch packed. Try and get to bed early, and set your alarm a little bit earlier than normal to give yourself extra time. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast, and try not to be nervous–you will do great!

Once at school, be confident and be yourself. When you find your first class, you don’t have to sit in the front row, but don’t sit in the back either. Be open and approachable, or even initiate conversations with your classmates. Chances are they are just as nervous as you! The people you have classes with are the first people you typically meet at school, so be friendly and open to others. Another thing to try is to remember names. No one likes to feel like they are unimportant, so remembering names can be the first step to making new friends.

Another way to make new friends is to get involved. You can join Student Counsel or an ASB club. Sports, like cheerleading, are another great way to meet people and form lasting relationships. Some of my oldest and dearest friends I have met through sports; you already have a common interest, so building on that foundation is easy! Once have you made at least one friend, try to meet their friends and expand your friendship circle. Also, remember you may not always meet someone the first day, but that is ok… you still have 10 more months to go until summer! That’s plenty of time to make friends.

Be aware that some people in school are not always nice. Try and stay away from cliques, or mean girls/boys in the school. You don’t have to be popular to enjoy school, but you don’t want a reputation for being a mean girl/boy. Always remember don’t take school politics too seriously. Enjoy your time in school, and figure out who you are. Don’t lose your true self to peer pressure, or in an attempt to be popular. Go to all the games, and join sports and clubs! You don’t have to stick with one group of friends either. Remember: school is only a short part of your life, but the friendships you make during this time can last a lifetime.

What are other tips for adjusting to a new school? Let us know in the comments!