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Starting at a new school isn’t at the top of anyone’s list of fun things to do. 

Whether you’re starting at the beginning of the year or further in; if this is the first time you’ve started at a new school or you’ve gone through it before, it’s natural to feel a bit nervy. 

Right now, you’ve probably got a bunch of thoughts buzzing through your brain like ‘will I get lost?’, ‘What are my teachers going to be like?’, and ‘Will I be lonely?’  

In life, you’re going to experience a heap of new beginnings, and not all of them will be things you can prepare for – but luckily, starting at a new school is something you can prep for in advance, and even be excited for. 

Prepping for a new school or changing schools

We’ve all seen the movie scenes where the new kid walks into the new school for the first time and it all looks like a blur, people bumping into one another, feeling alone – you get the picture. 

It doesn’t have to be like that. 

Here’s some top tips for a smooth start: 

  • Build familiarity – look at the school website, attend any orientations or do a virtual tour if you can’t physically get to school, and see if you can meet your homeroom teacher.
  • Know the lay of the land – your school should have a map or layout of the campus. If you’re able to get your timetable in advance, find where your rooms will be on the map so you’ll have a good idea of where to go. 
  • Understand your class timetable – if you’ve got any questions, try emailing your school, or if you’re not comfortable with that, get your parents or guardian to talk to the school on your behalf.
  • Know where your locker will be – While not all schools have lockers, if yours does, see if you can find out where your locker is in advance as this will be your first point of call to drop off your bag when you arrive. 
  • Have your uniform sorted – first impressions really do count, so make sure you’ve got your uniform complete and are wearing it correctly. 

Making friends at a new school 

If the thought of making new friends makes your stomach feel queasy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But just like you can prepare for finding your class, you can also prepare for finding new friends

You may find that your school has organised a buddy for you on your first day or maybe the first week so that you have someone to keep you company and help you navigate your new surroundings. If you find that you click, that’s an easy start to a new friendship! If you don’t have a buddy organised or you don’t feel like you click, there’s other things you can try. 

Check with the school either before or after you’ve started, and see if there’s any groups that you can join. If you’re into a particular sport, you may find that there’s a team you can try out for, which will introduce you to a group of people you have something in common with.

If you feel overwhelmed and need some help go to