#9 TRENDING IN Student Life 🔥

The Highs and Lows of Going to a New School

Student Life

Sun, May 26

My school-changing journey can be compared to Rory Gilmore's progression from Stars Hollow High to Chilton.

In my old school, I was like a caterpillar cozily wrapped inside a cocoon, waiting to turn into a vibrant butterfly as my friends and I navigated the corridors of the large campus as if it were our ramp. Life was good. I was ignorant of the world outside my class of forty that had remained the same for seven years. Perhaps it was that ignorance that retained the goodness.

Cut to eighth grade, and it felt like my school was unable to offer the stimulating education that I wanted to have (much like Rory's reason for shifting schools). After several months of my being desperate for change, my family decided that I enroll in a different school.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck in the same year in which I was to shift schools, and I quickly realized that I had been naïve to think that the transition would be a smooth one. The first two years trudged along online, depriving me of the chance to make new friends, something I was quite looking forward to.

While I can't generalize this disappointment for everyone who is shifting schools in today's pandemic-free world, I can certainly say that even when school started in person, things were not all that hunky-dory.

Cultural Shock

When Rory first moved to Chilton, she was overwhelmed. From people to parties, ball dances to clothes, everything was significantly different from what she had grown up seeing in Stars Hollow.

Similarly, I found it arduous to even sustain a conversation without thinking of how the talk would be on a completely different tangent in my old school. Birthday parties before meant a good movie and a large pizza, but now nothing less than a full-blown dance party was considered fun.

If you're changing schools or starting university soon, you are going to find yourself culturally upheaved too.

We all grow up with a specific set of values. When we find ourselves in alien places with foreign ideologies, the shock is undeniable.

woman in white hat with pink lipstick

Image credit: JC Gellidon from Unsplash

FOMO is Real

No matter how sad your friends are that you changed schools, they aren't going to stop having fun without you and it would be unfair for you to expect anything else. Your choice of changing schools comes with the cost of sacrificing that summer camp because your friends are done with their exams but your school has not even started with them.

It's the small things like them not being able to pick up your call when you need to talk to them the most because their daily routines no longer align with yours.

Those are the moments you feel pinned down by sadness that is too heavy to lift off.

It's been four years since I made the stride outside my comfort zone.

While I have seen my fair share of challenges, in retrospect, the shifting of schools has made me grow a lot more than I ever thought possible.

New School, New You

Not satisfied with your track record in your previous school? Feel like you could have done a lot more?

Starting a new school can be the perfect blank slate for you to write your story from scratch.

Take advantage of being a stranger to your teachers and classmates, and ask yourself how you want to be remembered by them. If you think you could have been a lot more socially involved in your previous school, now is the chance to make amendments.

There is no expectation attached to you, no viewpoint formed of you. You will have the chance to make a ‘first impression’ again, and that can be an extremely liberating feeling.

man reaching hands up high taken at daytime

Image credit: Japheth Mast from Unsplash

The Distance Can Do You Good

Going to a different school than two of the closest people in her life made Rory increasingly value whatever time she got to spend with them. Whether it was movie nights with Dean or walking to the bus stop with Lane, she felt it crucial to give them undivided attention whenever they were together, considering the physical distance separating them most of the day.

The same was the case with me. As we got increasingly busy in our different worlds, I found myself treating time with my friends as sacred. We started cherishing ‘quality time’ over the number of hours spent together, and our bond became stronger than ever. Gossiping reduced profusely, and we started preferring talks about deeper topics like our worst fears and biggest stresses.

If you're worried that you will lose touch with friends from your older school upon leaving, just remember that staying connected today is as easy as pressing a button on your phone! The key is to acknowledge that not all distances are bad. Some lead to profound realizations and you might even stop taking your closest friends for granted.


Changing schools can be scary. However, it's important to keep your spirits high: everything that is different is bound to be slightly difficult, but if you push through the first couple of years, things do get better and the school does seem less like an inexplicable ghost.

To all those who are changing or leaving schools this year, prepare yourself for a wild rollercoaster of experiences and emotions. On some days you will lock yourself in the bathroom and cry for putting yourself through the misery, and on others, you will be soaring high, widening your perspectives and broadening your minds.

Neerja Bhatt

Writer since Apr, 2024 · 3 published articles

Neerja Bhatt is a high school senior with a fierce passion for writing. She wrote her first story at the age of six, which was a fan-fiction of the 'Arthur' series. She has written and published a fantasy duology called 'The Bad Era', apart from several short-stories, poems, articles, and essays. Neerja is also academically inclined, and enjoys playing the piano and reading sensational murder mysteries.