Surviving Deployment
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by Mitchell Vandiver

Starting the school year in a new town can be one of the hardest parts about relocating. Knowing what to expect and having a plan before you start school is a big help:

  • Mentally prepare yourself for the move before it comes. Try to find some information on the school and town on the internet.
  • Try to get involved before the school year starts. Talk to the school about clubs or organizations you are interested in. If you were in marching band, drama club, sports, etc. at your old school, join the same club at your new school. Knowing other students before school starts is a big help. Also, having some familiarity in a new environment makes adjusting much easier.
  • Get familiar with the area. When you start school, you aren’t going to know things that people who have lived there their whole lives do. If you know a little about the town and the things in it, you will be a lot less confused later.
  • Find a church; it can be a easy way to meet people your age. Most churches have youth activities. There aren’t many places more welcoming than churches. If you try one, and don’t like it, don’t be afraid to try a different one.
  • Keep in touch with old friends. It is hard to relocate; don’t try to make it an abrupt change. Look at moving as an opportunity to make new friends without losing old ones.
  • Don’t be afraid to meet new people. You aren’t going to make friends if you don’t try. People are attracted to confidence. Even if you feel shy, introduce yourself.
  • Get out! Go to football games or other places where lots of students are. The faster you can become familiar with people and the town, the better. Pretty soon, you won’t be “the new kid,” you will just be another student.
  • Expect changes; don’t be surprised when things aren’t the way they were in your old school. Every school and town has things that make it unique. Try not to compare a new school to an old one. If you can accept the way things are in a new place, it will be a lot easier to adjust to the changes.

Mitchell Vandiver is a senior in high school. His dad is in the Coast Guard and his family has moved several times.




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