The Student News Site of East Grand Rapids High School

The East Vision

Being a new kid in a school you have attended for 12 years

Shannon Ors, Web Editor

Growing up in East Grand Rapids it is easy to become blinded to the fact that it is quite an anomaly to have rosters of sports teams and playbills of drama productions that are comprised of students who have been participating in the activity together since third grade. This phenomenon cultivates a high school population entrenched in teams, groups, and “cults” which equates to a high level of success and rapport amongst the extracurricular programs. However this system built upon a reliance of decade long friendships does not lend itself easily to newcomers.

I believe this a contributing reason to why many students spend their four years existing in the extracurricular spheres that they have the most experience in. Trying something new is even more intimating when you are acutely aware that the students involved have been participating in the extracurricular together for years. No matter how small we like to consider East Grand Rapids High School, I believe that many students have at some point talked themselves out of participating in something because they know they could never match the high caliber of experience that is considered “normal” within these extracurricular programs.

I admit that in my own head I would often calculate how I would fit into the makeup of an extracurricular I wanted to try. The amount of energy I spent over the course of high school expounding energy thinking about being “new” in a particular extracurricular is probably more than I want to acknowledge. The anxieties that accompany joining a new group at the high school can be daunting. Simple questions can cause panic. What should I wear? What time do people arrive? Where do you store your bag? Add on all the traditions that are pillars of the extracurricular programs and it’s easy to feel like an alien.

I confronted the anxiety of being the “new kid” most successfully the spring of my senior year. I was asked to stage-manage the spring musical Grease, which I was so excited about, but the minute I said yes, an anxiety crept over me. I had a little experience in the theater that involved prop crew which was comfortable for me as it meant sitting in the back corner with a cart of objects. But stage-managing was a different story, it meant the actors depended on you to execute the show and illuminate their show with the correct timing of visuals, sounds, and light. However it wasn’t even the task itself that I found most anxiety producing, it was the fact that I was going to be the newcomer, which meant my abilities were automatically going to be questioned.

However I decided that stage managing was something I really wanted to try, so I didn’t let the fact that I was entering a cast so molded and skilled within the theater intimidate me. I did a lot of nodding when someone was talking to me with a vocabulary I had no clue what it meant, I did some apologizing when I messed up during rehearsal, and mostly a lot of concentrating. It was exhausting, but I walked out of backstage after the last show with a newfound pride in myself, a feeling much different that what I had experienced in activities that I had participating in since third grade.

So while many of us like to think we have never been the “new kid” I think even in a school of 1000 kids who you have been in school with for years, there is still an anxiety when entering a new group. It is a topic that is far too often ignored and glossed over, but conquering being the “new kid” is just as powerful a skill as honing a skill for years.

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