Right before I entered high school, I was terrified. It was all I could think about. It made my last few weeks of the summer miserable. A few weeks before school began, an upcoming senior posted a bulletin on MySpace with a list of things for freshmen not to do. This list was harsh and frightening, basically telling all upcoming fish to watch out because they would be tortured. This increased my terror by about 500,000%. I thought I was going to die after reading that list.
This list will not be like that.
Here are today's five tips.
1. Realize that everyone else is as scared as you are. Yes, you're terrified. But so is every single other upcoming freshman out there, whether or not they admit it out loud. You are not the only freshman. You are not the only scared one. You aren't going to be the only one who doesn't know where biology class is. You aren't going to be the only one to forget your locker combination. You're not alone. In the same way, you can't count on everyone else to reach out and befriend you. They're hoping that someone will befriend them. Reach out to people. Know that the pretty freshman girl who looks way more confident than you standing a few feet away is feeling those same nervous twinges inside.
2. Don't keep middle school grudges. It is absolutely the silliest thing to look at someone you recognize from your Jr. High years and think, "I can't be friends with her. She hated me in middle school." Chances are, she thinks the same thing about you. I've made friends with kids I knew in middle school but didn't necessarily like. Middle school grudges don't matter in high school. Don't wait two or three years before you figure that out. Start school with an open mind.
3. Don't be afraid to change your look. Your style in middle school and your style in high school should be a little different. You're be developing and maturing, as awkward as that may sound. Before you enter high school, get a new hair cut. Try on makeup for the first time. Buy some new clothes that you like. Don't wear something that isn't you, but don't be afraid to expand your look. Let's face it. Middle school years are awkward. Acne, braces, and coming into teen-hood. A great way to step into the new, mature you is to change up your look a little bit. I did and it completely transformed the way I viewed myself. I didn't feel nearly as self-conscious as I did before. I felt confident and pretty for the first time. The picture to your left is me in seventh grade. The picture to your right is me as a junior in high school. Do you see the difference? It's not that I changed into someone who isn't me. I simply matured my style into something that is an older version of me.
4. Don't waste money on pointless school accessories. Getting a locker for the first time is exciting, but don't waste your money on the cool little magnets and pencil holders and white boards and digital clocks and decorations. You will not use them. You won't be spending that much time at your locker because of the short amount of time in between classes. Save your mom some money. Buy a shelf, a mirror, and perhaps a magnet or two if you really want to put up pictures of you and your friends. If you want to make your locker look cute, make your own decorations with paper, stickers, and tape. Also wait to buy silly little accessories like decorated post-it notes, colored Sharpies, fancy highlighters, book covers, and etc. until you actually get a list of supplies from your teacher. You probably won't need those things and you'll end up not using them. Don't give in to pointless spending.
5. Be prepared to change friend groups. I know that at this point, your middle school friends are all you know, but there is a 99% chance that you will not keep the same friends. Almost all of my close high school friends are different from my middle school friends. It's not that my old middle school friends and I refuse to speak to each other. We've simply grown apart. We say hi, talk now and then, sometimes even hang out... but most of my good friends are completely new. I've even changed best friends. If you're determined to only be friends with your middle school friends, you're holding yourself back, especially if those kids won't be going to your school this year. Be prepared to make new friends. Reach out to new people.