Navigating a New School: Tips from a Former Army Brat


April is the Month of the Military Child, so this is for the all military brats – you are some of the biggest unsung heroes who did not choose this life, yet still endure every bit of hardship and joy which comes with supporting your service member. I empathize with the daunting task of continually starting over. I was an Army brat and moved 12 times and am now an Army spouse and just finished my third move. Being the new girl isn’t necessarily something you get used to, but there are ways to make the transition smooth. With over a dozen moves under my belt, here are a few of my tips for making your first day in a new community and school a bit easier:

  • Find your tribe. Making friends will help you feel like you’re where you belong and will quickly help you settle into a new place.
  • Use your new school as a clean slate. It is your chance to reinvent yourself and start fresh. Have you wanted to try out for a new sport or learn an instrument? A move is the perfect opportunity to do this.
  • Take a tour before your first day. I was always most nervous about finding my classroom and being able to open my locker on time. If you’re able, take a tour of the new school, practice opening your locker, introduce yourself to your teachers and let them know you’re new.
  • Practice your detective work using social media. There may be social media groups or a class page you can be a part of, and you can use location searches on social media platforms to see what activities or events people have tagged your school in.
  • Get involved. This is usually the quickest way to make a friend because you both have shown up to be a part of a group with a shared interest.
  • Keep in touch with your friends you’ve moved away from. You never know when you’ll cross paths again.
  • You’re not alone. Seek out the other new kids and embrace the first day together.
  • Always be kind. First impressions can make a lasting impact. The easiest way to make a good first impression is to be kind.
  • Remember, there will come a time when you won’t be the new kid anymore. When this happens, it will be your job to pay it forward and show them around. Us new kids have to stick together!

The toughest job a kid could have is being a military brat. It can be scary and lonely but know that the adversity you will face will make you resilient, brave and adaptable. Starting over and starting at a new school doesn’t have to feel like you are facing the world. Embrace the first day and think of every move as an adventure that allows endless opportunities. You’re a military brat – you’ve got this!

Nora Anderson
Written By Nora Anderson
Army Spouse

Nora became a brand-new milspouse in 2018. Her first lesson: 12 moves as an Army brat will never be enough preparation for this whirlwind life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *