Transitioning to another school is big enough of a change, but from a local to an international school is an immense adjustment. From being the “guai lou” in a fully local school for 6 years to being just like any other student in an international school I still felt different.
Coming into an international school, I had a lot of expectations that were not necessarily accurate. I thought that I would get less work, be less stressed for exams, fit in better with the others. But did that happen? To be honest, not really. I still remember my first day, I walked into school feeling hundreds of emotions rushing through my head, anxious, worried, lonely, distanced, nervous, stressed. I can continue going on but I can imagine many of you reading this must’ve felt the same during any transitions. I entered in Year 8 when everyone has already had their first year of secondary together. They were grouped up into their own little friend groups and being a new student I felt very left out. On top of that, my English speaking was not the best because I rarely had conversations with my local school friends in English only.
Then came lunchtime which was a huge stressor. Don’t ask me why but if you aren’t sitting with anyone for lunch you are suddenly labelled as “the lonely kid”. As you can guess, I sat alone going on my phone doing absolutely nothing but pretending to be working. My mind was so distracted by what people might be saying about me or what they might think of me I was not even trying to socialise with others.
Eventually, I realised the only way to get out of these negative feelings was to face them. I started talking to be people to slowly build up my confidence. The next class I had was Chinese, here was when I met amazing friends whom I am so grateful to have met. They have been such a great support system to me and have been beside me through difficult times.
Overall, looking back at this experience I’ve learnt a lot and wish you all have too. First off, going into any situation you should never set too high expectations because they tend to beat you up when they are not met to the extent you want them to. Also, try not to think too much about what people think of you because chances are they are worrying more about themselves rather than you. Finally, make sure you have a good support system to check in on how you are feeling.