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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Newbie Blues

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I was going to start this morning’s piece by moaning about how much I hate Mondays, but truth be told… I don’t hate this one. Today’s Glory Edozien’s birthday and so it’s not your usual Monday. It’s special Glory day and I’m going to keep looking at the clock till it’s time to head out for the parry! Please don’t hate, just ‘ppreciate okay?

Over the weekend, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was complaining that her son wasn’t fitting in quickly at school and she was really concerned. She had recently enrolled him in the school, and because they had resumed a few months ago, her son was a newbie in a class where students had already started forging relationships.  I told her to calm down and that it was part of life. She should see it as an opportunity to help build his character. This was a chance for her to help hone some parts of his personality.

Honestly, being a newbie is something we grapple with at all stages of our lives. It’s everywhere. Your first time at a school, a social centre, a religious centre, a new area or even a new job. Surveying the territory, knowing boundaries, forming alliances and opinions are elements of being a newbie. If you’re lucky, you’d find someone to help you break into the environment.

Being the new kid anywhere can be particularly difficult especially if you’re shy and reserved. Sometimes you get picked on and other times you just quickly blend in.

I was fortunate to have gotten a job right after Law School. The idea of being a newbie terrified me because for some crazy reason I get really unsure of myself when I’m not very familiar with my environment.  So on my first day at the Law Firm, I got to work at 6 am. It was partly because I was nervous and partly because I’d heard horror tales of the traffic on the Island on week days.  I knew they said if you want to get to work early leave your house at 5.15 am and that’s what I did ( I later mastered the art of precise timing to avoid traffic). The only problem was that I didn’t consider in the fact that the office would have been empty. So I stood outside the gate, with my sharp jacket and 4-inch heeled shoes for about 15 minutes when a car pulled up into the parking lot.  The driver of the car came out, asked me if i wanted to see someone.  “It’s my first day here” I said. “Alright then. My name is S, and I work here. Would you like to wait in my car?” I sat there quietly. I guess he was tired of hearing the clicking sounds from my phone (please don’t ask me who I was chatting with so furiously at 6 am in the morning). Anyway, he got me talking about myself, law school, why I wanted to be a lawyer and all that and somehow that chat in the car went a long way in breaking the ice. I was assigned a team leader who was nothing short of amazing. She took me to every meeting and she introduced me as “Our new associate” to everyone. (Fresh from Law School oh, I had not even been called to the Bar. You can imagine how my head was swelling). It was a relatively amazing first day and it was smooth sailing from then on. I became a member of the family.

Having walked in those shoes, I make a conscious effort to be very warm and welcoming to newbies because that particular experience has resonated with me.  Please share some of your newbie experiences with us. How do you feel and react when it’s your first time in a place? Have you ever bullied a newbie before?

I hope you have a fantastic week ahead. Stay strong, keep a smile on your face and remember to make a positive impact on someone.

Peace, love & cupcakes!


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You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.

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