Anyone who has seen the movie Mean Girls can recall new girl Cady Heron’s first day of school, where she sat eating her lunch in a bathroom stall.
For those of us who have transferred from other schools, we understand that the experience can be overwhelming. Maybe you moved from another Wake County Public School, or perhaps you went to a private school in another state.
Whatever the circumstance may be, I think we can all agree that nobody wants to spend lunch sitting alone in a bathroom stall, so here is a guide to making the most of your transition.
Things are not as bad as they seem
“When I first got to Leesville, I was terrified because I came from a school that only had about 300 people from kindergarten to third grade,” said Ashlyn Creech, senior. “When I saw this crowded school for the first time, I panicked, but I quickly learned that there are tons of nice people here.”
Newer students that have gone through the Leesville transition, advise “newbies” to stay calm.
“Don’t just assume people are a certain way. Sometimes people are nicer than they appear,” said Creech.
John Wendt, junior, advises new students not to expect friends immediately. “It’s up to you to make friends as quickly as possible. You can’t afford to be mean, so be nice to everyone and hopefully, in most cases, they’ll be nice to you too.”
Students coming from private schools observe that public schools offer more diversity and a greater sense of what the world is really like.
Jenna Webly, sophomore , admits that she had a difficult time adjusting to Leesville’s socioeconomic diversity after attending St. Mary’s, an all-girls private school.
“Being at St. Mary’s, I was used to getting a lot of things handed to me. I had to come to terms with the fact that things aren’t just done for you and that people come from different backgrounds.”
Having boys in the classroom was also significant change for Webly. “I definitely had to get used to having boys around—the cute ones, and the not so cute ones,” she said.
Webly also observed that students at Leesville do not dress the same way as they did at St. Mary’s. “I guess I just kind of expected for people to wear the same things we wore, but I was walking up the arts hallway and was like “are they wearing pajama bottoms?”
Some students had to get adjusted to the racial diversity of Leesville. “My school in Buffalo, New York had pretty much all white people, so when I got here it was kind of strange because I wasn’t used to that much diversity,” said Jillian Schoening, junior. “My main advice is to embrace change because meeting people who are of a different race or culture keeps things interesting.”
Those People in the Student Services office are your friends
Student Services offers a meeting for new students to help them get readjusted to the school. Transferring students of the past recommend asking as many questions as possible for a smooth transition into Leesville.
“Definitely take Student Services up on that lunch meeting! They are really friendly and make the switch to a new school a lot less intimidating,” said Creech.
“If I were to come to the Leesville as a new student all over again, I would have gone to student services more often. If I had asked them more questions, I could have known that you do not have to walk all the way around the school to get into the east building,” said Schoening.
“New students should join clubs—lots and lots of clubs,” said Scott Dobbin, senior, who credits his positive Leesville experience with his membership in multiple clubs.
“To be honest, I’m probably in too many clubs,” said Dobbin jokingly. “Getting involved outside of school is an excellent way to make friends and find others who share the same interests.”
My own personal advice
Coming from Broughton my sophomore year, I thought about my friends often and got to the point where all I wanted to do was go back. Every day I would come home and whine to my parents about how much I missed shopping sprees with my old friends at Cameron Village and how I missed the exciting purple and gold pep rallies where we cheered for the CAPS.
Then, at some point along the way, I realized that the whole time I was beside myself, complaining about “not having any friends,” I was missing out on high school. All of the time I spent complaining, I could have been a Leesville Loony, screaming my lungs out at a football game, or I could have been auditioning for the school musical.
My main advice to new students is to avoid missing out on all of the wonderful opportunities Leesville has to offer. Your friends, your real friends that is, will always be there for you. While I do not go to Broughton anymore, I still see my old friends. We even schedule a dinner at Mellow Mushroom every month to catch up with each other.
Just because you are in a new school does not mean you are limited to old friends. I have made many friends here at Leesville because I decided to become a Leesville student. The more you quit isolating yourself from Leesville, the happier you become. Welcome to Leesville, New Kid!