Advice From a Professional New Girl
I’ve always been the new girl. I like to consider myself a professional because I’ve become somewhat of an expert on what it’s like to walk into a crowd of people and not see a familiar face. I’ve attended 10 schools in the last 15 years of my academic career. I can recite multiple addresses and home phone numbers off the top of my head like it’s nothing.
When you go to a new school, you’re kind of like the shiny new toy that everyone wants to play with. In elementary school, everyone just wants to get to know you. By the time you get to high school, it’s almost like that scene in Mean Girls when they're all acting like animals. The worst part about the first day of school was always the lunchroom. The fear of where and who to sit with at lunch is so real.
My very first day of high school was more than just being the new girl, it was a complete culture shock. I had moved to Memphis, Tennessee, which was much different than my entire middle school lifestyle in Omaha, Nebraska. I had gone from wearing Miss Me jeans and Aeropostale shirts to seeing everyone around me wearing Cole Haan loafers, preppy shorts, and Chacos. I was totally mystified; I couldn’t understand how what they were wearing could be cool.
I thought my parents were ruining my life and I actually tried to become a foreign exchange student my sophomore year of high school. (Spoiler: My parents never let that happen.) Each time starting over became like a well-practiced routine. New school, new classes, and new friends. The best way to make friends when you’re the new girl is to get involved. For me it was always through sports. I played soccer, ran track, and did cross-country. It’s easy to make friends when you’re bonding with your teammates. It’s like boom, immediate friends.
Coming to college and going through sorority recruitment for Greek life was practically the same thing as joining sports. I loved talking to people, and after a while everything kind of comes naturally. The nervousness of meeting someone new goes away after you’ve done it for what feels like a million times.
By the time it was over, I had 400+ new friends, all because I found something that I could be a part of. College and high school really aren’t that different when it comes to being the new kid, except, for the first time ever you aren’t the only new kid at your school.
After a few months at college, I started to realize that I wasn’t sure if I liked running into the same people I'd gone to high school with almost every day. I had grown a lot, and I wasn’t the same girl I was in high school. It wasn’t that I didn’t love being friends with those people, but I felt constantly reminded of high school and who I used to be. It wasn’t something I wanted, so I started thinking of transferring.
So I did it. I ended up at a different school, still in the Midwest, but far enough from home that I felt like I was getting a fresh start. This time it was different. I took my time and I felt lonely for a while. However, after six months of being in a new place and branching out to meet new people, I finally have friends I can call my own.
I’ve learned over the years that some things really do take time. It takes more than a day or even a week to meet your best friends or love living in a new place. Being the new girl so many times has made me more willing to try new things and have no problem introducing myself to anyone I meet. This is great for interviews, and it’s also great being a writer; I’ve gone through so many different things that I feel like I can relate to almost anyone.
I can attest to the fact that if you are going through a hard time or a new transition in your life, things always have a way of working themselves out. So don’t be worried. Just be patient and step out of your comfort zone every once in awhile. I promise, you won’t regret it.
By Madison Rodick, 20