Macy Rupp is a senior in high school living in the DC area. Her father retired as a Colonel in the Marine Corps two years ago, after 30 years in Marine aviation. One of her four sisters is an active duty Lieutenant in the Army. During her father’s career she moved 14 times during 10 deployments. She gave us some of her PCS advice that she picked up along the way:
Weeks of preparation, transcript exchanges, new school supplies, and of course those dreaded 6 words: “Hey, are you the new kid?”
Whether you and your family have been re-stationed two or twenty times, being the new kid is never easy – private or public school. No matter how old you are or how many times you’ve transferred schools, saying goodbye to friends and neighbors never gets easier. Of course there are always benefits, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and places, but let’s be real: no one wants to be the new kid.
Most of my re-stationing happened when I was in elementary and middle school and I’m lucky enough to have gone to the same high school for all four years. My two oldest sisters however had to transfer high schools right, smack in the middle of their terms. After being the new kid so many times and being able to look back on it, I’ve compiled some pro-tips for all you new kids out there:
-Be kind: This is kind of a given but I figured it was worth mentioning. Even if classmates are being mean or exclusive, never let your guard down. Always, always, give them a smile and a wave. Especially if they are being ridiculously mean, nothing bothers a bully more than not being afraid of them.
-Be bold: Don’t be afraid to raise your hand or do a math problem on the board! You’re smart, own it! What’s the worst thing that could happen? You get it wrong? So what! If someone makes fun of you for answering something incorrectly, that’s their problem! Sit wherever you want to at lunch. Don’t be afraid to join a team, theatre group or club. Remember: they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
-Be yourself: This one is more often than not, the most difficult. With different places come different trends. It’s absolutely normal to want to fit in, everyone wants to be accepted and feel like they belong. But it took me a while to realize that if I had to change my clothes and music taste, fitting in isn’t worth loosing your individuality.
This girl shows up to her first day of 6th grade wearing boca-beads, a shark tooth necklace, and friendship bracelets up to her elbows. Now, in San Diego, California, I would’ve been just a regular middle schooler. But in Washington DC, things were different… My classmates looked at me like I was crazy! For weeks I tried to fit in. I traded my boca beads and shark tooth for a J Crew sweater and some (fake) pearl earrings I found at the exchange. People started talking to me, sure, but as the weeks went on, I became more and more unhappy.
Then, one day, I saw a”friend” of mine make fun a girl for wearing a necklace that her mom had made her, a necklace my “friend” deemed ugly. That night, I threw away my $5 earrings and snuck my sister’s nice sweater back into her closet and retrieved my shark tooth and beads from under my bed. Sure, the next day I got a lot of eye rolls and the occasional whisper hidden behind a hand, but that day I also met the girl with the “weird” necklace, and she became a wonderful friend. Together, we laughed at the pearl earrings and Lulu lemon headbands.
I repeat: being the new kid is never easy. But stay true to yourself, put yourself out there, and stay kind, and you will find people, good people, who appreciate that. When in doubt: remember that you are supported and that you are loved.
Wow I’m shocked at my cheesiness, but it’s true.
Catch ya on the flip,
Sandboxx is an app for service members, recruits, their families and supporters. It was created by two Marines and a Marine father who wanted to make it easier to stay in touch with family when off-the-grid without a phone and with units when they were back home. Download Sandboxx free.