Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: New Kid

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: How have you handled being the "new kid"?

A variety of ways I guess. I was a new kid in my school a few different times growing up--in kindergarten of course, and first grade, and sixth grade, and ninth grade, and tenth grade. When I was little I didn't care about making friends or impressing other kids. I wanted the teacher of my class to like me and be impressed with my academic skills. I guess through middle school that desire for my teachers to respect and praise me blended into an awareness of the other kids and wanting them not to pick on me. I didn't reach out and I didn't want to be noticed, because other kids were almost without exception mean to each other.

In high school I was a little more interested in my peers and I wore clothes that I thought represented who I was so I could find other people who were similar to me. Most of my "fitting in" behavior was just hiding, and most of the time I wanted to stand out was about wanting people to talk to me about shared interests--books, music, cartoons or whatever. I was pretty passive about my social interaction whenever I was new on the scene, and I mostly focused on surviving the day-to-day--figuring out where classes were, keeping up in the class's content, figuring out what the heck was doing on, trying not to miss the bus.

Being new as an adult was more of an adventure, I guess. Being new in college, changing colleges, being a new "kid" at the jobs I got after school--meeting people and learning about them and having them learn about me seemed way more fun as an adult. I didn't feel like I was waiting for someone to mock me or do something mean to me--adults just aren't predatory in the same way. I got along with people better as an adult, and though I'm still not in any rush at all to socialize with the people wherever I happen to be "new," I don't mind it and sometimes it's fun. In work contexts I think I'm still more of a "speak when spoken to" person, though I will speak a lot if I have something in common with the person I'm talking to. I'm more curious about the environment and the tasks at hand than I am about other people. I want to relax and figure out what I'm doing before I care about the social aspects.

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