So you’re starting high school then?
You’ve probably got a few questions – “What should I expect?”, “What is expected of me?”, “Am I gonna be okay?”
In short: “Not much”, “not much”, and “yes”.
In all seriousness though, I understand that entering high school is a daunting thing. There is so much unknown, and all we have to go on is what we see in American movies. The problem with this is that we build up so much expectation, so much anticipation that we can end up doing more harm than good. With all this in mind, the best you can do is not to stress over it – but you will and probably are so here is some advice.
No one cares as much as you do.
I know that sounded a bit harsh. Let me explain. Someone once told me that people very rarely think about us as much as we think they do. We are the centre of our own worlds, so it is easy to get lost in what everyone thinks about us and what sort of judgment are they passing on me as a person – but remember we are the centre of our worlds so everyone is more likely worried about themselves and not about you. I know this is a bit of a downer but it doesn’t mean people don’t care about you, it just means they are not obsessing over you.
Remove some mystery.
We all fear the unknown right? You can see it in any supernatural horror movie where the actors run away from… well we don’t know… and that is why it is scary. The thing in Paranormal Activity could look like a Teletubby for all we know (which would actually be pretty scary if you think about it). So it would be a good idea to visit the school before your first day. Walk around the school a bit – maybe even chat to some of the staff or counsellors at the school.
“Do you have your exit buddy?” – Dory in Find Nemo
If you have a friend who is going in with you, great. A familiar face is always welcome! If you don’t… well then it is time to make a friend.
“But London” that is my name btw, “I am shy and struggle to make friends”. I get it. I was the nervous kid too, but just take the time to find people who have similar interests to you. I met my best friend in the world 11 years ago in grade 8 when I overheard him speaking about Resident Evil. *I can feel some of you readers calculating my age. Not a gamer? Well, then what I can tell you is that the one thing you and the other kids will have in common is that you’re new.
Sample conversation: “You’re a new kid? I’m a new kid” presto you’re on your way to making a friend.
I know some of you suffer social anxiety, and it is something that can be absolutely crippling. If this is you, here is a link that may be able to offer some advice. I hope it helps!
Get to know your teachers.
“I am not a teacher’s pet… London” *cue eye roll.
There is a stigma here. Getting to know your teachers doesn’t mean that you have to suck up to them to gain their favour. What I mean here is being able to ask for help. The teachers would appreciate the interest and the effort on your part, but remember they are human and can get overwhelmed so I would recommend being specific when asking for help. If you’re too shy to ask for help remember this – half the other kids are probably wondering the same thing. If you still don’t want to ask then write your questions down and ask the teacher after class.
I’m not talking stock market here. I am talking about investing in yourself. A guy named Scott Adams said “goals are for losers”. Harsh right? Yes, but he has a point. Goals are good, but you are not winning until you reach them, and when you do, you set a new goal and are not successful until you reach it.
So what is better than a goal? Well, my man Scott says systems are the way. A system is a collection of habits and mindsets that you cultivate each day that ultimately lead to success. This includes anything from study habits, to time management, to positive reinforcement exercises and so on.
The key thing about this is that you should invest early. Decide on the system before school starts or in the first week and then stick to it. It is easy to get left behind and gaps that form get bigger over time not smaller.
Seriously. If things are going badly, or even well, tell someone. It can be mom or dad, weird uncle, friend, or teacher. We often get stuck in our heads about things. Talking about the things that are on our minds can help clarify the way we see them or give us a new perspective. On that note, listen to those who need to talk to you but be careful not to carry the weight of other people.
You become your friends.
Our habits, our mindsets, and so on often become like those with whom we spend most of our time. Choose friends that push you to improve, people with a good head on their shoulders. This one will become more apparent after school, but I really want you to take it seriously.
Just have fun!
Life isn’t just about books. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have some fun. Your time at high school can be something truly special. Make the best of it!