No matter how many times you've moved as a military teen, it's never easy, and it may seem like it gets harder the older you get. Part of the reason is that you know what to expect: unfamiliar school, unfamiliar faces, and that all-too-familiar feeling of being at the bottom of the heap. But it doesn't have to be all bad. Here are some steps you can take before and after your next move to make the transition a little easier:
- Do your research. Learn as much as you can about your new community before you get there. Contact different programs on the installation and use the Internet to learn more about the community. The more you know before you head to school for the first time, the better you'll feel.
- Visit your school. As soon as you can, go see your new school. Even if it's summer vacation, go check out the building and get the basics down. Find out where the lockers are, the cafeteria, and so on. If it isn't possible to visit your school before you go, try to get on the school's website and learn as much as you can.
- Explore the area. Once you're all moved in, walk or drive around. Check out the local hangout spots, visit the teen center, and introduce yourself to some other teens. Having even just one new friend can make that first day of school a lot easier.
- Smile. Did you know that when you smile you have a better chance of making friends? This simple action can make you more approachable.
- Start fresh. Think of this move as a good thing. You get a chance to start again and forget anything you weren't proud of in your past. If you got labeled as someone who couldn't keep a secret or if you made some enemies along your way, now is your chance to change all that. It's a fresh start!
Check out the Youth Sponsorship program at your new installation. A sponsor can help take some of the discomfort out of being new by answering your questions, taking you around school, and introducing you to some new people.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!