Being the new kid on the block


Ashley Tanner

As my mom, stepdad and I walked through the front doors of RBHS on my first day last year, I began crying. I had moved from Rolla, Missouri about three weeks earlier and wasn’t prepared to have to find new friends or be the “new kid.”
I hadn’t handled moving well; I left Rolla willingly but not without expressing my feelings because the idea of leaving my friends terrified me. At the time, I saw transferring as an unnecessary evil that was forced upon me rather than an opportunity to meet new people and see new places.
The thought of moving to Columbia as anything other than a disadvantage had never occurred to me. Looking back I was very naive of the possibilities I would come across amongst the  challenges I had to overcome.
Starting fresh is both good and bad, but to me a year ago it was only a negative situation. Rather than taking advantage of all of the after school activities that RBHS offers or going to Golden Cow or show choir events, staying home seemed like a better option. My mindset toward social interaction with peers was cynical, and I now realize that neglecting to embrace my new peers set me up for a lonely school year.
I knew transferring would be challenging. The academic change was probably the hardest obstacle to overcome. Learning how to write essays by RBHS standards and trying to catch up in classes that were paced differently than my previous school was equally as hard. My GPA dropped, leaving a heavy academic weight on my shoulders.
My reluctance to move on from Rolla set me up for failure in future relationships, too. Social media was a way of staying connected to my friends who lived 100 miles away. My fixation with keeping up with my closest friends closed the door for new friendships.
Though it is important to continue close-knit relationships, no matter the distance, it is also crucial to build new friendships for people close to us. I didn’t understand that concept. My mom repeatedly tried to tell me but I refused to listen.
It wasn’t until this year that RBHS started to feel like home. I took journalistic writing in preparation for newspaper, which was one of the best decisions I made. New students — all students — need a co-curricular activity to invest in. Being on the newspaper staff opened up a world of friendships for me. I now have a group of diverse people to call my family. I look forward to getting to work with them every day.
Since I let go of my life in Rolla and moved on, I have started attending youth group with my closest friend here where I have gotten the opportunity to meet new people and grow in my faith. I’ve gone to concerts, dances and football games with my friends. A little more than a year ago my mascot was a maroon and gray bulldog, but now it’s a green and gold bruin that I wear proudly.
Moving on from my previous school doesn’t mean forgetting about the relationships I created. It doesn’t mean visiting or texting often is going to affect my new life. It means I must accept my situation and deal with it head on. Letting go helped me build new friendships and accept that I live in Columbia now, and that’s not going to change.
By Ashley Tanner