New to the Pack: Transfer students reflect on their transition to Northwood


Ellie Lan

NEW KID NERVES: Northwood welcomes its new transfer students with open arms.

Rachel Gima, Sports Editor

Countless high school rom-coms play off of the same trope: “the new kid” transfers into the school, an excessive amount of unrealistic drama ensues, but ultimately, the new kid gets a happy ending. While Northwood students shamelessly stream movies involving this plotline (despite its overdone and predictable nature), most students realize that transferring high schools is not as easy as is depicted. Transfer students, including those who come to Northwood, face a myriad of challenges as they navigate their new surroundings. Through their experiences, however, they are able to offer a broader perspective and insight on our student body and campus culture. 

“It’s really hard to make friends,” junior Edgar De Santiago said. “The campus is much bigger and I don’t know anyone.”

Northwood staff have made attempts to help transfer students integrate into the community, including hosting New-To-Northwood meetings and coordinating lunches with upperclassmen who can help new students get a better feel for the campus culture. Outside of these efforts – during lunch, for example – transfer students have generally had positive experiences with the student body.

“For the most part, they’re really nice,” freshman Cherry Shin said. “I’ve noticed that they’re less judgy and they’re more open to more things.” 

While this fear is common among many transfer students, it hasn’t stopped them from becoming a part of the Northwood community. Many have noticed and taken advantage of the clubs, sports teams and other extracurricular activities that Northwood boasts, the variety of which is often a pleasant contrast from other schools they have attended. 

Northwood is unique from other schools I’ve attended because it has a lot more sports and clubs available,” freshman Annabelle Wong said. “I also like the schedule, especially the tutorial period, which allows me to get help from teachers when I need it. I’ve learned that it’s good to push yourself to explore and learn different things.”

Another surprising aspect that many transfer students commented on was Northwood’s open campus. Southern Californian weather permits schools to be built as such, allowing students to enjoy fresh air and sunshine on the walks during passing periods and while relaxing during breaks and lunch. For students raised here, this type of campus is normal throughout primary and secondary school. For transfer students, however, this came as a surprise while navigating through campus for the first time.

“I went to a private international school in Japan, and it was really small compared to this one,” Shin said. “Northwood is really big, like a university, and how it’s formatted makes it easy to get lost.”

Transfer students have fond memories of their old school. While changing schools is a bittersweet experience, students focus on the positive and the many lessons and skills they learn from switching schools. 

“I’ve moved around a lot,” Wong said. “I learned that you should always be grateful for the people and moments you have.” 

Their experiences serve as a reminder to the student body to appreciate the strong community established here that involves students, staff and family members alike, and welcome new students into the pack with open arms.