Transitions With Jean Blog

Back to School

Aug 31, 2023

Do you remember your first day of school? It was so very long ago, but I’ll bet you remember how you felt that day. There was probably a little bit of excitement, a little bit of fear, a little trepidation. Will people like me? Will I make friends? Can’t I just stay at home and not do this?

Life has a way of repeating itself. Now you are heading to a new community and wondering how it will be. Will they like me? Will I make friends? Will it feel like home?

You can almost hear your mother’s voice saying, “You can do this.”

First, in preparation for starting school, your mom had looked at what things you needed and took you shopping to get them. You probably got new crayons, a big pencil, new shoes, some new outfits, perhaps a hand-me-down lunch box – and maybe you even got a haircut for the big day.

A good orientation is important, so you probably went to the school a couple of days ahead of time to walk through and get the lay of the land. “What a big place,” you thought, “I’ll never learn my way around.”

When that morning arrived, you tried to hold back your unease. You didn’t want to be a scaredy-cat. Mom made you a good breakfast, then, she took you to school, dropped you off and left. You were on your own.

You nervously sat at your desk and tried to keep yourself busy. Soon, you held your head up and started chatting with the person at the desk next to you. At lunch, you met more kids and after school, when you were walking home, maybe you met someone who eventually became your dearest friend for many years to come.

Now, as you are heading to a new community, prepare by looking at what things you need and “go shopping” around your house to get them. Set yourself up by choosing just what you need and not hauling all kinds of extra stuff that you will never use. You will want what it takes to furnish your living area, as well as some cherished treasures. Be practical. Everything you take should have a purpose and a place. And yes, because it brings you joy can be a reason to take something, but perhaps not 47 of those somethings.

Set yourself up for success by checking out the new community several times ahead, maybe have some meals there. You will be more comfortable if you become familiar with your new surroundings.

The most important thing you can do once you arrive is to hold your head up, get out there and meet people. Soon, you’ll be chatting with the person at your table at lunch, meeting someone on the way to the mailbox, joining in a game of cards or an art project. You may soon meet your new dearest friend.

Yes, the first day of a new adventure is a little bit exciting but also a bit scary.

As Mom told you many years ago, you can do this.

Jean Long Manteufel writes a column on the first Sunday of each month about life changes associated with
aging. Send your questions to or call 920-734-3260.