As a new academic year begins this is a phrase which many of us will find ourselves saying over and over…and over. Whether it’s a new school, place of work, college or Uni it’s never easy being new. Guest writer Kaitlyn Boyd shares her own experience of being the new girl and offers some tips and encouragement to help you feel at home in no time. Enjoy…
‘Hi I’m new’
—> Do you ever feel like you have that stamped on your forehead when you go somewhere for the first time?
I tried out a church’s college group the other week, and as soon as I pulled in I had to strategize my plan to wait for someone else to get out of their car first so then I could follow them in. I’m new here. I didn’t have a clue where I was going. If I tried finding the door myself I probably would have ended up on the stage with everyone staring at me or something. They should really invest in some signs that lead to the door saying, “NEW PEOPLE COME THROUGH THIS DOOR RIGHT HERE”.
My plan was working perfectly. A guy started walking in, so I casually got out of the car, taking my time so I would be following him behind at the perfect distance. As he was walking past me he looked at me, did a double take, and then said, “Hi… Are you new here?”
Dang it. He totally saw through my plan.
I laughed and said quite sarcastically, “Yes… Can you tell?”
It’s hard being new. I mean, it’s great to meet new people. I love making new friends! I love people! But also, oh my gosh – people. Soooo many new people. It’s exhausting. And after I’ve met about 3 new people, I don’t remember anyone else’s name. Then it’s just like, “Hi, I’m Kaitlyn. I just moved here. I go to school for graphic design. Yes, the weather is much different here,” on repeat. Honestly, I might not even remember those first 3 names.
But, it’s been almost a month now, and I’ve narrowed it down to three of the hardest things in moving thus far:
- This. Dang. Heat.
Don’t laugh. This is real. This is serious.
I’m from a place where it rains. And it’s cold. 90% of the time. Now I live where in a place where I feel like I’m in flames whenever I walk outside. Where I sweat profusely… at all times. It’s absolutely ridiculous. So, until it gets cooler, I am pretty much posted up in my apartment where there is AC and fans and cold water to drink. I am stalling on exploring my new city until it’s not over 100 degrees. Call me crazy.
- Truly feeling at home. & not comparing to your old home.
So I’ve mentioned how I’ve been trying to find a new church; but the list doesn’t stop there. I have to find a new dentist, doctor, chiropractor, grocery store, gas station, mail drop, etc. I literally have to GPS every location I go to and figure out what’s near me. That gets old real fast. But home can’t feel home-y until you know how to get to your local grocery store without asking Siri. Simple as that.
On top of that, all I have in my head is my old home.
Well my old grocery store was in the middle of downtown. People actually lived above it. How cool is that?
My chiropractor back home knows what I need. He knows what to do.
My church did worship this way. And we called life group, city group. Jeez.
Now, it’s not bad to miss how things were. It’s okay to like them better in some ways. But here’s the reality: no matter how much you try to make your new home like your old home, it will never be the same. That’s a hard concept to grasp. Let’s see if you catch onto this: just because you have a new home, doesn’t mean your old home is any less of home. I know I just said home a lot… but I hope you follow. In other words, home is “technically” where you are, but nothing can take away your love and connection to where you grew up. The memories – you can still have them. Just don’t let them hold you back from seeing the beauty to where you are now. I’m still working on this myself – but one day I’ll stop comparing this place to my old home, and it will have some memories, advantages, and beauty of its own. (Insert house and heart emoji here).
- Lastly, and probably the hardest thing since moving here: figuring out how to love people around me and show them who Jesus is. This is hard anywhere… but I’m finding it to be even harder in a place where I’m the new girl, and especially at school, which just so happens to have a lottttt of people, and many of whom enjoy partying and everything involved with that. << Before I go any further I need to explain my heart. By no means is this a post about non-Christians who do all these “terrible” things and how I think I’m so much better because I’m a Christian, blah blah blah. No. No way. Not even a little bit close to what I’m trying to say. Just making sure we have that clear. >>
THIS is a hard and real thing for me because I am scared of just that happening. From the bottom of my heart I desire to love people in a way that makes them feel important. By the way I (attempt) to live my life in such a way that reflects Jesus – I am hoping other people see that and want that same joy I find in Jesus. But so often just the opposite happens. When I say I’m not really much of a drinker (even though I am of age) people assume I am judging them because they do partake in that. When people tell me who they just hooked up with and I look shocked and am stumbling over my words, it’s NOT because I’m judging you, it’s because I am sheltered and literally am so uncomfortable I don’t know what to say to not sound like a complete loser. Lastly, just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean you can’t cuss around me. I’m not exactly attracted to it, but doesn’t mean I haven’t. Doesn’t mean I think you’re a terrible person.
All this terrifies me. Because the desires of my heart to love on people and show them Jesus, can so easily be taken in the wrong way. I just heard a sermon where the pastor said, “You can either lead people to Jesus, or turn them away.” Wait, what? One or the other? That’s scary. The last thing I want to do is turn someone away from Jesus! But I can’t let that fear stop me from pursuing people. Friendships. Just being me. Being honest with them and showing the fact that I mess up too. I’m not perfect. I sin just as much as anybody else. I just want to show you how Jesus has radically changed my life.
I’m learning just like anybody else, how to cope with living in a new place. Beyond these things I’m struggling with, I have so much to be thankful for and so many things that I love here. So, keep pushing through. Keep putting yourself out there and remember that relationships and comfort will come with time.
<3 // KB
Check out more of what Kaitlyn has to say about life, love and Jesus over at her blog The One Beloved!