From New Girl to THE Girl
by Lexi Matallana
The first day of anything can create emotions from slightly nerve-wracked to full on terrified. Whether it’s school, a new job, or a different major, a new beginning can be daunting while you get comfortable with whatever your new routine may be. Being the “new girl” has its perks and its downfalls, and while time will ease the nerves you don’t have to wait until your novelty wears off to start owning your experience.
I’ve been the new girl more times than I can count, or than I even care to count at this point. New schools, towns, states, countries, I’ve been there and been forced to do that. The older I got, the more I was exposed to the real challenges that can come with tackling a new adventure. When people hear that I’ve moved 11 times (and counting), it’s easy to see it as an explanation for why I was completely comfortable coming to college only knowing two out of approximately 36,000 people. A lot of people I’ve met see being able to make friends easily as the best skill being a professional new girl could give me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely nice that I’ve become comfortable starting all my relationships from scratch. In the end, though, there are so many more things I have learned from being the new girl about resiliency, being yourself and rocking it from day one.
1. You can’t change who you are with a fresh start.
Not to debunk the seemingly coolest part of a new place, but if you start off thinking that you can completely reinvent yourself you’ll waste a ton of time and energy trying to be someone you aren’t. You absolutely can take the opportunity to learn from past mistakes and unhappiness, but you shouldn’t take too much time trying to change the person that you’re meant to be. Bettering yourself doesn’t have to mean avoiding what makes you unique.
2. Low expectations mean nothing.
One of the complex challenges of being the new kid on the block is that people have no idea what you’re capable of. Sometimes the lack of a reputation makes people skeptical before they buy into you being right for the job/role/position/friendship/etc. Ignore that—you don’t need to prove anything besides that you’re capable of kicking butt and taking names despite your potential wild card status.
3. Don’t wait your “turn.”
Don’t discredit yourself just because you aren’t the most seasoned person in the room. Work hard, learn what you need to and be ready to get after the things that you want. Make sure you’re ready to tackle the job at hand, but don’t talk yourself into waiting too long to establish yourself just because you don’t want to come off as too pushy.
4. If “no” isn’t the answer you want, don’t take it.
Coming in knowing what you want to do and how you plan to do it can seem threatening to some, especially your peers, but the truth is—how long you’ve been somewhere doesn’t determine your worth. Your value is far more based on your ideas and contributions, so pay your respects but don’t lessen your qualities or ambition to comfort those with no authority besides a personal opinion.
So maybe you’re like me and “uh, what’s your name again?” is a very casual question. Maybe going to college in a different town is the first transition you’ve really made. Whatever your case is, you’re where you are for a reason. It’s easy to get noticed when you’re the new girl in town, so why not use it to your advantage?