New School Fears

By Ben Egwuenu, age 13 and Marjorie Foerster Eddington


Sometimes it seems scary to go to a new school. How do you deal with the fears?


Going to a new school can be tough – whether it's going from middle school to high school in the same town or going to a new school in a different state or province. But try going to a new school in a different country on a different continent! Ben Egwuenu from Nigeria did just that. He explains how the Bible helped him when he came to the United States for high school.


When I graduated from middle school and began preparing for high school, all my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade memories flashed right before me. I was a little scared because I was going to high school in a different country where I would have to make new friends.

It could be easy to do, but most people think it isn't – and I was one of those people at first. I wondered if I was going to fit in or be an outcast. I was concerned about being bullied or being that person that everyone laughs at. I wondered if the way I acted or the things that I did would be normal in America.

But then I realized that those are just the things everyone thinks you should worry about. It's what you see in the movies or on television -- the new kid trying to be cool and not be the laughing stock of the school. That may be the way some high schools are, but I know that it doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to be scared of the thought of going to a new school and fitting in. Instead, we can just be ourselves and let others accept us for who we are.

One of the Bible stories that helped me face fears is about Jacob and Esau. After being away from home and living in a different country for about twenty years, Jacob returned home. But he was scared. He would have to apologize for the wrong he had done his brother -- taking his inheritance. But Jacob prayed and got a great sense of peace. When Jacob and Esau saw each other, they embraced and started over as friends. They accepted each other.

Another story that helped me is about Moses. He grew up in Pharaoh's palace and was like a son to Pharaoh. But later Moses ran away. Eventually God told Moses to go back to Egypt and help free the Hebrew slaves from Pharaoh. But Moses didn't know how he could do it all by himself. How was he going to convince the slaves that he was going to free them and how was he going to convince Pharaoh to let them go? He didn't know how anyone would accept him. But he was sent by God, and God helped him. The Hebrews accepted him, and Pharaoh eventually let the Hebrews out of Egypt. God took care of all of them.

And God takes care of us.

Going to a new school and not knowing how people are going to think of you could really make you worried. There are a lot of questions that you could ask yourself about whether or not people will accept you. But you don't have to worry. I realized that I didn't need to be concerned about being from another country. I learned that I just needed to know who I was, and everything would be fine.

  • Know who you are.
  • Don’t let people tell you who you are.
  • Don’t change who you are.

God made you and saw you as "very good" (Gen 1:31).

Ben Egwuenu, age 13