BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - I felt an extra heavy presence of instability and inconsistency at the beginning of this school year. In addition to the unstable environment that was forced on us by COVID-19, I faced the challenge of switching from private to public school. 

When I transferred to Governor Livingston, I struggled to form friendships with other students. Communication with other students plays a key role in making and maintaining friendships, but the pandemic has definitely changed how we communicate.

One aspect of school life that helped ease my fear of not making new friends in the hybrid environment was sports. The field hockey team fostered a welcoming and accepting place for new students to meet people. Playing on a team offered me a glimpse into the school’s environment and helped me speak to new people with ease. 

Sign Up for Berkeley Heights Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Not being acquainted with my classmates made class discussions difficult. While in person, I felt discouraged to start and engage in discussions with other students because I was unfamiliar with most of them. Additionally, speaking during Zoom classes was challenging. It became harder for me to speak up since I felt guilty about interrupting or speaking out of turn. 

However, I combatted this struggle by reaching out to other students, to get to know them better. 

I asked someone from one of my classes to hang out outside of school. I also communicated with students through apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Using social media to get to know other students more personally made class discussions flow more naturally, and encouraged my confidence while participating in class.

My nervousness about starting a new school affected my sleep schedule. I needed to make up for these sleepless nights. I attempted to get seven hours of sleep per night, and soon the new habit was incorporated into my life. I found that learning to practice habits that help decrease stress are vital to succeeding at a new school. 

As the school year continues, I hope other transfer students find comfort in knowing they are not alone. 

Sports and social media are a great way to meet new people outside of the classroom. Adopting healthy eating and sleeping habits, working in an appropriate environment, and staying focused during class time are also helpful tips.

 Many students are facing similar challenges during this time, but I found the environment at Governor Livingston, even during a balance of cohorts and hybrid learning, has proved to be supportive and understanding of student's struggles.