Transitioning from Middle School to High School: Things You Should Know

Student Life

The entire campus is unfamiliar: different people and classes. It seems as if it is a new world. And sometimes, it is difficult to navigate. High school, as we have all heard many times, is the time where you find yourself. High school is the place where you decide who you are going to be. What are your passions? What subjects do you excel in? Students have been told that high school is the place where they have the opportunity to answer all of these questions. This is a huge amount of pressure put on teenagers. Teens cannot be expected to have it all figured out in four years. At the beginning of high school, everything can feel overwhelming. I, a freshman, have already gotten a taste of how my 9th-grade year will be. Let me share some of the things I have noticed.

Homework Is Not as Hard as You Might Think

Going into high school, I prepared myself to have hours and hours on end of homework daily. I believed that there would be no time for fun and relaxing. However, this is completely inaccurate. Especially in freshman year, you will not be assigned tons of homework. Of course, it will be more difficult than eighth grade, but it will be manageable. Remember, you have control to make 9th grade a breeze. If you work diligently and pay attention in class, your workload will become much lighter and work will be easier to complete.

Most nights, I can finish all of my homework in two hours. This will, unquestionably, increase as I become older. But, for the time being, homework is not too stressful.

Learn to Relax

For some of you, reading “Learn to Relax” is very confusing. I am already relaxed, you might be thinking to yourself. Well, this tip is not for you. There are a large handful of students who hate doing nothing. The word “nothing” is associated with laziness. But, learn to make time for yourself. After finishing your homework and activities, you need to make time for yourself. If you decide to prioritize other things over your well-being and mental health, you will eventually burn out. Remember to take care of yourself.

Since school started this year, I find myself finishing all of my tasks around 8:00 PM. I ask myself, What am I supposed to do now? For some reason, doing nothing or watching my favorite television show carries a negative connotation. You may have similar thoughts. If so, I urge you to think of this: Good work deserves a reward. After attending school and working for hours, you need a break. So, please, give yourself one.

More Opportunities

Most of us already know that high school opens the door for opportunities including joining clubs and sports teams, participating in school plays, and building friendships. It turns out that there are more opportunities than you would think.

High school is an opportunity to change. Change is intimidating, but it is also important. For instance, let’s say you were an introvert in middle school who never attended social events at school. Well, now, you do not have to be. High school serves as a fresh start. You can become an extrovert, an athlete, or an actor. There are no limits.

There Are Not Many Cliques

Walking into the hallways of your high school, you may have been envisioning a group of jocks, nerds, art students, goths, and stoners. Even though a countless number of teenage movies depict high school as such, these formed ideas about high school are simply false. Unsurprisingly, there are friend groups. Some groups fluctuate constantly; others do not and remain the same. But, they are mixed with different kinds of people.

Finding friends is not as awkward and difficult as it may seem. Friends of yours from middle school may have found new friends. Do not let this stop you from finding your own group. I am not a social butterfly in any way. Social gatherings exhaust me. I avoid unnecessary socializing at all costs. And I am completely the type of person to curl up and watch a movie in their room instead of going out with friends. But, I, despite being the introvert I am, have one piece of advice: sit down at a table at lunch and see where it goes.

You will not know who your friends are unless you sit with them. The place you sit down at lunch does not need to be permanent.

Prepare Yourself for Different Kinds of Teachers

In high school, most teachers have some freedom as to how they teach. I have teachers who do not give letter grades, and instead, only feedback. I have teachers that give projects instead of tests. Prepare yourself for different kinds of teachers with different teaching styles.

Some teachers will not follow the typical letter-grade system. Even though this can be frustrating at first, you need to focus on what you can control. If you work hard, take pride in your work, and ask questions when you are confused, you will perform well in a class.

Do Not Compare Yourself to Others

The worst thing you can do for yourself in high school is compare your achievements, personality, and more to others. You will never win when comparing. Inevitably, you will never feel satisfied and proud of yourself. Do not let thoughts about others consume your mind.

I will admit that I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to others. Constantly, I hear about my classmates staying up until midnight to complete their work. Suddenly, I question my diligence and abilities: Am I not doing enough? Is my workload too light?

Simply put, do what works best for you. Comparing yourself to others will get you nowhere.

Even though it may seem as if I am saying that high school is not as hard as you would expect, I am not, by any means, denying that it is difficult. High school is challenging. High school is complicated. High school is stressful. The transition from middle school to high school is a big one and it is not easy. But, you will find your way. Soon, you will navigate the rigorous waters of high school.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a freshman at Westridge School for Girls. She is the author of Stand Tall, a book that highlights women's rights issues, an editor for Polyphony Lit, and a Los Angeles Times High School Insider. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.