I think we can all agree that being a military child is one of the most chaotic and unstable things in the whole world. A lot of the time, moving all around the world is fun - getting to see new places and meeting new people can lead to incredible experiences. But other times, moving is the hardest, especially moving to a new school.
I've lived in four different states and gone to seven different schools. Don't get me wrong, I've practically mastered the art of finding other Marvel Cinematic Universe fans at school, but that doesn't help the transition get any easier.
The school I currently attend isn't filled with military kids. Most of the people at my school have known each other their entire lives, which is hard because I've always moved. Honestly, I feel like I am infiltrating their territory, and even when I form relationships with new people, I still feel like an outsider. Sometimes it's hard to relate to others since their lives are so different from mine. Of course, I'm grateful for the years I've had in other places, but coming to a new one from a place you loved is hard.
However, this post isn't about mourning my military child years; it's about sharing the things I picked up along the way that helped me acclimate to schools.
Tip 1: You are allowed to be sad.
When I made my last move from Texas to Florida, my mom told me not to be sad. She said that dwelling on the past makes the future harder, but I'm here to tell you that it doesn't in short spurts. I had about two to three weeks when I was sad about moving. I moved right after school ended, so I didn't have to begin at my new school until the summer ended, but I also lost a summer with my friends.
I was sad that I couldn't go to the weekend farmers market at The Pearl in San Antonio. I was sad that I couldn't go to my favorite Italian and ice cream places with my friends. I was sad that I wouldn't get to be on my school's swim team with my best friend again. Honestly, I was just sad. But here's the thing, I let myself be sad. I let myself be sad because I knew that if I didn't, the sadness wouldn't go away; it would remain. So let yourself be sad because it's ok to be sad, but then realize that the new place you're in is a new adventure.
Tip 2: Explore your surroundings.
As I said, I moved at the end of the school year, so I had the whole summer ahead of me. Luckily, it was really easy to explore Tampa. I found many small businesses and restaurants I loved before my sophomore year started. Also, familiarizing myself with the area allowed me to connect with other kids. Google search popular places in your new area and work from there.
Tip 3: Find a 'New Kids' club.
Most schools on a base have a Student 2 Student (S2S) program or something similar. Unfortunately, my school doesn't have a program like that; otherwise, my life would've been much more manageable. However, this year I learned that my school does, in fact, have a club that works similarly to S2S. My school's version of the S2S is called "New to Newsome" and focuses on all kids new to my school, not just military children, but the majority of the students in the club were from military backgrounds. We all understood each other; I finally felt like I fit in
Of course, everyone is different and every transition is unique. However, typically every move shares at least one thing: you will probably be sad. But don't dwell on that - explore your area, put yourself into your new community; that is when everything else will fall into place.