Going Back to School
Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in Education and Learning
It may be that you didn’t get on with people at your previous school, got expelled, failed a year or moved away, but if you have now decided to go back to school or college, or are moving schools, then chances are you are going to have to make new friends.
School/college is about more than just the things you learn and the qualifications you gain, it is also about the friendships you make.
This blog post should give you the confidence to make new friends and start the year as you mean to go on.
Preparing for School
Preparing for school in the right way is appropriate as people make initial impressions of people and this can tend to stick, so it’s important to cast your net widely by buying all the things you need, such as pens, pencils, paper, in advance.
If the school has a school uniform you will of course have to buy this in advance. If you are going to a sixth form or further education college then you can usually wear your own clothes, so make sure that you wear clothes which project your personality and present you in the best possible light.
Sometimes schools might set reading or give you a reading list in advance of starting your course. Make sure you do all that is required so that you can start the year on a high. This increases the likelihood of you keeping up the momentum with your studies if you set good habits early on in the year.
You can also set goals to follow through the course of the term and the year. This could be related directly to your school work or it could also be related to extra-curricular activities and/or your social life.
You might have had a bad experience at your previous school, think that the people at your new school are nothing like the people you are used to hanging out with, or maybe you think that studying is all that is important?
However, it is really important for settling in properly into a new school that you make friends and participate in social activities as much as possible.
- Be confident. Sometimes you can’t just expect people to talk to you, you have to start a conversation with them. This can be difficult if you are naturally shy or unsure about yourself, but you need to think about all the things you have to offer and how you would make a great friend. Be sure of your interests and who you are, spark up a conversation and see where it leads you
- Smile and laugh. Making eye contact and smiling at people makes you seem more approachable and people will be more likely to come and talk to you if they find your personality warming.
- Invite others to do things. If you sit next to someone in class or at lunch and think you could be friends with them then you can ask them to do something with you in the evenings or at the weekends. The worse that can happen is they say ‘no’
- Join some clubs and activities. This will really help you to meet like-minded people as you will instantly have something in common with everyone there. You might also develop a new skill in the process
- Have an opinion. Offer opinions in class, don’t be the wallflower that sits taking notes and never speaks (that was me). While it is important to take good notes, don’t let this stop you voicing your opinions. If you are passionate about something then speak up. This will help people to remember you
- Make an effort to remember people’s names. It can be really difficult to remember people’s names, especially when there are 30 in a class, but remembering people’s names will really help you make friends. Follow any process you can for remembering names, whether this is connecting a name visually or connecting it to some information you have gathered about them
- Try to speak to everyone. It is sometimes easy to form cliques or sit next to the same person in class because you feel comfortable with them. This is not always helpful, and you want to talk to as many people as possible. Don’t cast your net too widely though, otherwise you will end up with mere acquaintances rather than friends
- Don’t forget your old friends. You may have moved school but you should not forget your old friends (unless they were such a bad influence that you really need to). Sometimes jealousies can flair up, with old friends jealous of the time you are spending with your new friends, or leave you feeling left out because you no longer see your old friends as much as you want. Talk to your friends about this if possible, and take every opportunity during your evenings and weekends to keep track of what they are doing. Remember, you don’t need to have separate groups of friends, but can mix them up by hosting a party or inviting them all to something – you never know what new friendships or relationships might form as a result.
I never enjoyed school and while I did well, I regret that I did not take more opportunities to socialise and make friends.
So, follow these tips and you will be making friends in no time.
A new school means a new beginning!