Hi, I'm New: American girl in London

New school, new house, new country- last year my family moved to London for a year. It was my freshman year of high school and leading up to the move I felt nothing but eager anticipation and even a longing for an adventure; something different from what  I had known all my life. All the packing, arrangements, the flight itself . . . they were exciting. But once we arrived, it finally sank in that it wasn’t merely an extended vacation and that I was living in South London. Everything became frightening, because it was an inescapable unknown and there was nowhere to fly back to in three weeks’ time. They were one-way tickets.

The year in its entirety was a great collection of newness, but I doubt I will ever forget the first day at my English school. There was much confusion on behalf of the difference in American and English school systems and transcripts etc. so I started a week later than everyone else. I also started late that day because I was given a stack of administrative papers (another word for pointless) that was almost the equivalent of a recycling bin being dumped into my bag. But despite the confusion, the momentum, and the fact that this was the first day of not only high school but- don’t worry I won’t say “the rest of my life”- the first day of school in another country. I didn’t even know how I should wear my uniform- blazer buttoned up? Shirt tucked into skirt or out? Of course I was nervous, but because it was a total unknown for me, I had to block out all those little “what if”s  and just jump right in.  And within months, it all turned out better than fine.

Being the “new kid” last year was tough sometimes, and at first everything was overwhelming. But as different and isolated I felt at first, the antisocial me vs. everyone else feeling wore off almost immediately. Newness is scary, but it’s Alfred Hitchcock scary- you can be skeptical but it’s not fluff; it will amount to something, I promise. Freshman year I made amazing friends, learned so much, and had one of the best years of my life. When I was away (quite literally very far away) from all the people I had gone to school with for years, I really became my own person. There are always bad moments tied to being new- but it never stays that way because you keep on going until one day you realize how utterly seasoned, experienced, and mature you are. And then you can go sign up for something involving [dreaded] name games!

–Greta, 15, Teen Center Adviser

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