“Keep Your Cool at a New School,” New Era, Sept. 2013, 20–21
Your alarm goes off, and as you reach to turn it off you suddenly remember, “Oh no, it’s my first day at a new school!” As tempted as you are to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep, you know you’ve got to face the day. But what if nobody likes you? What if you can’t make friends or if people make fun of you when they find out you’re a member of the Church? Relax! You’ve got this covered. Remember these five gospel principles and let your worries fade away.
You are a child of God and He loves you. You can rely on Heavenly Father when you need comfort. Even if you don’t make friends at school right away, He will not leave you alone. Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president, taught: “When you make a transition, you are never alone. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly where you are, and He will be with you” (“How to Dare Great Things,” New Era, Mar. 2012, 48). For more information on God’s love and comfort, read John 3:16, John 14:18, 2 Nephi 1:15, and Alma 26:37.
The gospel provides answers and guidance for the situations you face every day. For example, a young man from Nigeria found comfort when he needed to take an exam for school but didn’t have the required money (read “A Test to Take Tests” on page 47). In every situation, think about how the gospel can help you. For example, if you’re struggling to keep up in your new classes, read Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 and you’ll find that you can get help from the Lord as you learn. If you’re surrounded by bad things at school, study the life and teachings of Moroni—he had great insight on living in a world full of wickedness (see Mormon 8 and Ether 12, along with his father’s counsel in Moroni 9).
Be friendly to everyone at your new school, but make sure that the people you spend your time with are the kinds of friends who support you and help you live the gospel—they’ll make a huge difference in your life. For more on this topic, watch the video “A True Friend” at lds.org/go/93True and read the “Friends” section in For the Strength of Youth. You can also read “My Friend Stood Up with Me” and “An Unexpected Friend” on pages 46–47 of this issue.
You may be worried that you’ll already stick out by being the new kid in school and that announcing you’re a Latter-day Saint will make you stick out even more. But being an example is not about calling attention to yourself—it’s about doing what’s right. Just be who you are and act in a way that’s consistent with your gospel knowledge. Your friends and peers will appreciate being around someone who is genuine and not always pretending to be someone else. To learn more about being an example, read 1 Timothy 4:12, Matthew 5:16, and Doctrine and Covenants 115:5. You can also read “What’s So Great about the Great and Spacious Building?” on page 4 of this issue.
Rather than worry if people will judge you for keeping your standards, remember that you’ll have greater peace of mind when you stand up for what you believe, because great blessings come when we keep the commandments (see D&C 130:20–21), although you may not always recognize those blessings immediately. Not everyone at your school will have the same standards you have, but you will find some people who admire you when you have the courage to live your beliefs. (To learn more about having courage to keep your standards, read Joshua 1:9 and 2 Timothy 4:7, and then watch President Thomas S. Monson’s video “Dare to Stand Alone” at lds.org/go/93Dare). When times get tough, try counting your blessings, perhaps even keeping a daily record of them, to help you focus on all the things God is blessing you with each day.