Remember the counselors are there to help you. Whenever you are unsure of something, you can ask. Although they usually focus on the school work, they can also help with understanding the rules or giving advice when you have a problem or are worried about something.
Making friends and fitting in may take some time. Getting to know your classmates will help you choose good friends. If you listen to what they are talking about, you’ll get to know what they are interested in. Maybe you hear someone talking about how they played football over the summer holidays and you like football too. Start talking to them about football and see if you get along well. Maybe you see that the girl at the desk next to you, has ballet clothes packed for after school and you are interested in dance. Start by asking her about where she does ballet and talk about things related to dance. Before long you may have made a friend. As you get to know your classmates you are likely to find people who are similar to you. This is one way to make friends. Other options for making friends are to see who lives near to you and walks home in your direction or catches the same bus.
It is important to do your homework. Revise what you worked on in class every day and make sure that you understand it. If not, ask someone to help you or explain again. Make sure that you complete any tasks that you have to do at home and hand homework in on time. Set aside some time to study the work so that preparing for assessments is not overwhelming. Push yourself to improve your scores and always do your best. A couple of hours a day every day can make a huge difference. You can form a study group with a few people and help each other. Explaining something to another person helps you to check if you know and understand it. Repeating the work will also help you to remember it.
Take the time to read your school handbook and learn the new rules. Once you know what behavior is expected, you can avoid trouble. Make the decision to follow the rules and you’ll stay out of trouble. Also, avoid spending time or making friends with people that often get into trouble. You will get to hear about some new things. Drugs, alcohol, and dating are things that may come to your attention. Avoid anyone who offers you drugs or alcohol – they are very bad for you. At first, it may seem like fun to just try, but don’t do it. Doing these things will take you down a dark and difficult path. They destroy your body and relationships and chances of having a successful life. If you never start, you’ll never have to battle to quit.
It's time to start looking after yourself a bit. Make sure that you choose healthy foods and eat regularly. Choose fruit or nuts as a snack rather than crisps and sugary drinks. Regular exercise or physical activity will increase your energy and get rid of anxiety. Sign up for at least one afterschool activity. Find out what your school offers and then think about what you enjoy: tennis, football, baseball, dance, or debating. Taking part in these activities will help you to work off any anxiety that you feel and is also a great place to make friends.
Get enough sleep that is restful. At least 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night will make sure that you cope well with each day and that you have the energy that you need. Put your electronic devices away about an hour before your bedtime, have a hot shower or bath, and read a few pages of a book to help you relax.
You may feel pressure to start dating but remember that everyone matures at their own rate and there will be many other people that are not dating. You will not be alone. Rather spend time getting to know various people and building friendships. Dating can start later if you want and you have a good friendship basis. Don’t allow peer pressure to force you into a relationship or friendship.
You will notice that you are going through lots of changes. Your body will change and if you are worried about this, talk to a counselor or adult that you trust. You will find that your feelings and moods will change often. Somedays you will feel very grown up and other days you will still want to be a child. This is normal and everybody is going through it. Your interests may change as well, and this may lead to changes in your friendships. Everybody matures at their own rate and changes are okay – it’s part of growing up. You may find that adults are starting to allow you to make some choices. Stay calm, think things through, look at the options and then make a choice. If you find that you have made a wrong choice, you can think again. If you make a mistake, apologize and set things right. Talk to a trusted adult if you need to.
Just like a survival kit of equipment, you will begin to develop skills for life that will help you along the way. You are not alone – there is always help available and you do not need to struggle on your own.
Middle School is a time of new beginnings and exciting new things. Enjoy each new step.