Going to a new school can feel like starting all over again. You may feel:
Sad or angry about leaving your old school or friends
Excited about a new beginning or a "fresh start"
Nervous about having to meet new people
All of these feelings - and many others - are normal reactions to starting at a new school. Some of the things that you might worry about when starting at a new school are:
If you have more questions or concerns about starting a new school, talk to a parent, teacher or friend or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
Most kids worry about fitting in at their new school. Sometimes it takes longer to fit in than you would like.
It's common for a new kid to feel like an outsider for the first few weeks of school. Although this can be lonely, you can help yourself fit in by being friendly and approachable. Even if you are nervous, try to smile, say hello and ask questions.
It can be scary to meet new people, but remember what it was like when you started your old school — your friendships did not develop overnight. As you adjust to your new school it will become easier and easier to fit in.
One of the challenges about fitting in is trying to meet new people. Here are a few places you might meet friends in a new school:
The classroom: Look around you, is there anyone who sits near you who you can talk to at lunch or after school? Do you participate in group activities in class? If so, try to join a new group every time. This can be a great way to get to know people who you have never spoken with before.
Clubs: Think about the activities that interest you. Is there a club at your school that reflects these interests? If so, join it! If not, consider approaching a teacher to start your own club.
Sports: Most schools offer a variety of team sports and some offer different levels of sports that you can try depending on how competitive you want to be. Try joining intramural or varsity sports.
You don't need to meet all of your school friends at school — you might also meet people in your neighbourhood. Join activities at your local library or recreation centre. No matter where you meet people, it's much easier to talk to someone if you share a common interest.
Finding your way around
You may feel nervous about finding your way around your new school. If you can, take a tour of the school to help you get used to your surroundings. Many teachers will ask another student to show you around. This is a great way to find important places like the washrooms, the library and the cafeteria. It may also give you an opportunity to check out the popular hangouts within your school and get introduced to other students.
Lots of people worry about their marks and schoolwork when they change schools. If you have moved to a new school in the middle of the school year you can sometimes fall behind; this is particularly common in math or languages. Talk to your teachers — they can help you make up any work you have missed.
Some kids worry about their teachers when they start at a new school. Even if the teachers are supportive it can take awhile to adjust to new rules or ways of teaching. If you are worried about your teachers, try talking to them. Find out if you can meet them before you start school. With a familiar face at the front of your classroom, you may feel more comfortable during the first few weeks of school.
Last reviewed: September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team