Switching schools is hard. Starting high school is hard. Starting public school after always being in private school is hard. All three in the same year?
It's been done.
This message is for anyone looking to next year to whom any of these apply, but especially those to whom all three apply. That was me a little less than a year ago.
- Get a phone. I'm sorry, all you parents who don't want to give in, but it helps. It's not required, but strongly recommended. I may post more about this later.
- Make friends early. Fall sports that practice before the start of the year are a great place to meet people like you and know people before you're stuck on your own.
- Keep making friends. It's hard when it seems like everyone already has their cliques and you're just on the outside looking in. Try to look out for those who are stranded, like you. If someone includes you, don't let the opportunity go to waste. You're smart people; you know what to do.
- Beware of projects. I saw a significant rise in web-quests (worksheets that involve research through pre-selected links) and group activities. I don't want you to be caught off guard if your World Studies class (Freshman history class in my school district) has as many projects as mine.
- Study. It's easier to keep a good grade than try to raise it after a big drop, right? It's not a matter of the time you spend; it's a matter of how well you learn everything. Some people can get by just through paying attention in class and looking through notes the day of a test. Don't just assume that's you- you don't want to risk being wrong.
- Don't over-schedule. If you're playing a sport, your coach may think that sport is your life. If you get a job, your boss may think that job is your life. Your teachers may think school is your life. You don't want to stress yourself out by leading too many lives simultaneously.
- Take online classes (if available). If your school has the option, taking required extra classes online can really help the balance of life. ICT (computer stuff class) and Health are great online because you work on them on the computer at your own pace for a semester and you don't have to bother wasting time in a classroom. From what I've heard, the classroom versions are harder and more work, too. (Just don't take both classes at the same time like I did. Eeek!)
- Embrace the diversity. Going from a class of 30 to a class of 400, I realized that I wasn't really the only one like myself. If you're bad at something, chances are, someone else is worse. If anything is a sore spot for you, other people may know exactly how you feel, and you may even realize how normal you are in comparison to others.
- Quirk alert! Teachers may have certain irks. Peers may drive you crazy. Anyone who catches you in a bad mood may make everything feel worse. Being mad at them gets you nowhere. Let it go, and you'll find yourself enjoying class more than you were before.
Don't worry. You'll be fine. If your high school years aren't your best, don't worry. You have so much more fun ahead of you than you can even imagine. Chances are, your fears about new people in a new school will be over before you know it. And really, who can sincerely say that they've never felt insecure or awkward? You aren't alone.