5 Ways to Ease the High School Jitters

The transition from middle school to high school is exciting, and daunting for many teens. Having a ton of friends makes the whole transition easier. But what if you don’t? Perhaps all of your friends are going to “the other” high school, or you just moved to a new city? Situations like this make the first day of school incredibly hard. Follow these 5 steps to ensure that life at your new school is as great as you hoped.[fancy_images]
1) Treat the first day of school as exactly what it is, a fresh start.

You know that girl that you’ve always wanted to be? Go for it. Just make sure that this girl matches your true self. It is exhausting to try to be someone you aren’t and impossible to keep up everyday for 9 months. Would your old friends describe you as quiet or shy? With a little effort you can leave that title behind and become outgoing and friendly. Perhaps you’ve always found it hard to make new friends. No one at your new school knows that! So ditch that idea and make a new friend everyday.

2) Confidence and a smile are the most attractive things you can wear.

Finding that outfit for the first day of school (or entire week if your a planner) is important, but nowhere near as important as the way you present yourself. Have you ever heard the saying “Fake it until you make it?” If you make an effort to smile and make eye contact with people as you walk down the hall or enter a classroom, you’ll leave people wondering “who’s that girl?” After a few weeks, your smile will feel so natural that you’ll realize you’ve made it, and people will take notice.

It’s tempting to try blend in, or even disappear when you are feeling nervous. Perhaps you view the hallways as a war zone, or something to be survived. Shuffling down the hall, looking at your feet will get you no where. If you want things to be different this year, you need to “do” different. Try it out, smile at three people in the hallway between each class. I promise, people won’t think you’re creepy. Instead, they will feel relieved that there are friendly faces in the hallway. This one tiny step can change everything. Trust me.

3) Get to know your school… before the first day.

You have a lot to think about on the first day of school, it’s better if you don’t have to wonder where your classes are located. Take some time (with or without mom and dad) to explore your new school. Even better, attend Freshman Orientation. Oftentimes, upperclassmen give school tours and you even get a chance to meet your new teachers. Don’t miss this opportunity to smile and talk to new potential friends.

4) Get involved!

Clubs and activities are the best way to make friends, and feel as if you are a part of your new school. If you aren’t athletic, don’t worry! There is a high school club for everyone, literally. Whether it’s chess, drama, dance, cheer, or math that you are interested in, there is a club for you. Also, don’t be afraid to get excited and participate in school wide spirit days or homecoming week. We’ve all had that nightmare where we are the only ones to show up to school in our pajamas, but spirit days make school more fun. Talk to a few people in your classes before a dress up day to reassure yourself that you won’t be the only one in face paint. Or, if you are feeling super cautious, bring an outfit in your backpack and get to school a few minutes early to check out the scene. If you feel comfortable, you can sneak in to the bathrooms and do a quick change. Would you rather be watching high school life from the sidelines or participating and having a blast?

5) Look for the girl who is struggling and sit with her at lunch.

That girl could become your new BFF. Even if you don’t make the ultimate connection with this girl, at least you didn’t have to eat lunch alone. Try again the next day, and the next, and how ever long it takes until you sit down by the girl who will become a life long friend. I’ll never forget my first day at a new school when I sat down by a smiling blond girl, and within minutes she invited me over to her house and she became my first friend in a new city. That was a LONG time ago and we are still friends today.

High school is meant to be enjoyed, not tolerated. By following these steps you are setting yourself up for a great adventure. That being said, if things aren’t going the way you hoped, remember that the bravest thing you can do is ask for help. Good luck!