The first day of school can overwhelm anyone with excitement and nervousness, but it can be especially daunting if you’re a new sophomore or junior who’s trying to fit into an already socially-established grade.

The biggest and most common concern for the many past new sophomores and juniors has been making friends and adapting to CA’s challenging academics at the same time. Many felt like they had to catch up with school and the community rather than ease into it and learn step-by-step like any freshman would. 

To  aid in the transition, The Centipede compiled a list of advice from past new sophomores and juniors:

Don’t feel like you need to catch up. It may seem like you have a lot to catch up on: names, academics, CA culture, the names of buildings, etc. But hey, you have two or three years to spend at CA. You don’t have to get everything at once. Even though this is my third year at CA, I don’t think I know everything about the school. CA is very welcoming and inclusive. Everyone will understand and do their best to help you get familiar with the school, so don’t stress.

Don’t be shy to ask! Everyone is ready to help you with everything and anything. Giving directions or explaining the school system isn’t a big of a deal, so don’t panic when you’re not sure about anything at CA– just ask anyone about it! 

Expand your social circle by joining new clubs and sports teams. Try out different activities at CA even if they don’t sound like your cup of tea. Joining a sports team is one of the many great ways to interact with people in a different grade. I never played squash before in my life but decided to join IM Squash and it became one of my favorite hobbies.

Sit with different people at lunch everyday for the first few weeks. No two people at CA have the same schedule. Different schedules assign students to different lunch periods. This will allow you to sit with new people during lunch and get to know more about them. Since there is no assigned seating for each grade (other than the freshman pit which is not assigned), lunch is a great time to make friends within and outside of your grade.

Actively participate in class. All of my classes were composed of different classmates, which was very different than my previous school where I spent my entire day with the same group of people. I couldn’t make friends easily because I had to meet new people in each new class For me, this was very overwhelming and intimidating. One thing I kept consistent though, was actively participating in class discussions. Looking back, that was what started the conversation with my classmates and further gave me the chance to learn more about them as our conversations continued outside of class. This not only helped me academically as I was able to become an active member in my classes, but it also helped me socially by starting conversations with my classmates. 

Connect with your fellow new sophomores/juniors. There are meetings and activities prepared for new sophomores and juniors to get to know each other, so take advantage of them!

Transitioning to a new school may be bumpy at first, but give yourself some time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Everything will work out in the end!