It’s that time of year again. That time after the Labour Day weekend when summer feels truly over and school gets into full swing.
It’s a stressful time of year for everybody, but that stress is multiplied by a hundred when you’re just starting high school. It’s scary starting at a new school and not knowing what to expect or worrying about whether or not you will have friends in your classes.
I had many sleepless nights before entering grade 10 but soon I realized there wasn’t anything to be worried about. For those feeling the stress, here are five things I wish I’d known before starting grade 10.
1. Everyone is nervous
Literally every single person is nervous on the first day of school. High school is the unknown to everyone and they all feel the same fear you do. So when you’re sitting in homeroom or your first class take the time to introduce yourself to someone or compliment somebody on their outfit. Think of what you would want to hear and say it to someone else.
It sounds simple but it’s an effective way to help people be less stressed and also to make friends.
2. Be Friendly
The simplest way to make friends in a class where you don’t know anybody is just to introduce yourself to people.
Be nice to everyone you meet because you never know who could be your future best friend.
I met my best friend in junior high because we were seated next to each other in almost all of our classes. After a bit of awkward silence, we introduced ourselves and started talking and have been really good friends ever since.
3. Join Clubs
High schools have a lot of clubs. From science to art to anime, there are clubs for almost everything you may be interested in. If your school has a club or a team that interests you, then join it!! Clubs are a great way to be part of a community at school. They aren’t usually a huge commitment and they are worth the time you put in.
You get to meet people who are interested in the same things as you and over the 3 years the team or club can feel like a second family. You also get to further explore subjects and activities that interest you, possibly even leading you to discover what you want to pursue as a career.
4. Organization is Key
High school is more work than junior high, no question. Teachers expect more from you and the work load can be heavy. I’ve found that the best way to deal with the work is to stay organized.
I’m a Type A personality who likes to have colour-coded binders for all my subjects and a folder to put homework assignments in. That’s just how I like to stay on top of all of my homework. But there are lots of different ways to stay organized. Hit up Staples and look at the different kinds of organization systems they have and find one that will help you stay on top of your work. School will only be more stressful if you aren’t able to find your homework in your messy binder.
5. Mistakes Happen
Nobody is perfect and it’s completely normal to make mistakes. It’s easy to stress out about a failed test or a missed assignment but don’t let it weigh on you. Sometimes it feels like one bad mark is the difference between passing and failing a class but know that most of the time, it won’t actually affect you to that extent.
On my physics unit exam in science class I got a 58%. I was so disappointed and I was stressed about it because at the time it brought my mark down a lot. But the cool thing about high school is you’re able to talk to your teachers about bonus work and about how to do better in the future. By the end of the year that 58% didn’t affect my average at all.
Everybody has off days and you just have to remember that one off day won’t define your mark. And your marks don’t define you.
Final Thoughts: The most important thing to remember when starting the new school year is just to take everything in stride. Life goes on even though a lot of things can feel like the end of the world, it isn’t. Enjoy your school years and high school could be some of the best years of your life! And if not the best, at least enjoyable.
Still feeling stressed about your grades? Making friends? Fitting in? Talk to us.