Going back to school is already something of an intimidating prospect. Going back for your first day of high school, however? Not cool, not cool at all. There’s a great deal of unease in the act, and for many students – maybe even most – high school probably looks like a great beast that’s going to chew you up and spit you out as a little, insignificant nothing.
Relax. It’s really not that bad. Yes, high school is different, but it’s still just school. And, as with anything else, there are ways to ease the transition. Here are some tips to help those new high schoolers out there survive that first day.
1) Make sure you’re prepped.
Have your pens, pencils, binders, paper, whatever you need, all ready to go. Don’t just toss everything in your bag and leave home, either – get your stuff sorted, so you’re ready to start taking notes the moment you hit the classroom. Most teachers won’t begin the semester with notes immediately, though some probably will, and you’ll want to be prepared.
2) Don’t go too overboard.
You should not be overflowing with enthusiasm about all the cool stuff you’ve bought. Why? Because the higher year students will, unfortunately, look for targets in the newcomers. You don’t want to make yourself a high profile on the first day, lest you draw the attention of undesirables. Bring what you need and don’t flaunt the fact too much. (Yes, this makes high school sound even worse, but it’s not that bad. You need to be quite over-the-top with your supplies and ambitions to draw attention.)
3) Travel in packs with your friends.
The nice thing about high school is that all your chums will probably carry over, and if they do you need to stick together. You can support one another on that first day, help each other find classes and fend off those aforementioned undesirables in large numbers.
4) And if you’re transferring from somewhere else and have no friends?
Try to make some. Be talkative in class. This is difficult for most people, but look for any opening you can get to create a dialogue with someone else. This tip is especially effective if you look around the class for any other loners, as you’re probably not flying solo as the new kid. Team up and you may establish a life-long friendship.
5) Try to get a seat around the middle of each class, more to the side.
Generally speaking, the troublemakers will sit in the back, while the best students go for the front. Unless you’re one or the other, go with the unobtrusive middle sections to avoid catching the teacher’s eye too often (especially if you don’t always like to pay attention) while avoiding the nimrods who NEVER want to pay attention.
6) Pay attention.
Despite what was noted in the last tip, pay attention to the teacher. Lectures are more important than ever in high school, and the faster you learn that what the teacher has to say may not be mirrored in your textbooks, the better.
7) Learn the layout of the school.
Try to find your classes for subsequent days before you need to make a mad scramble to find them later on. You’ll thank yourself for this. Again, wander in packs, not alone.
8) Make sure you have your school ID on you at all times.
You’re new to the place, and teachers – particularly any vice-principals who like to roam the corridors – aren’t going to recognize you on sight. Having your ID, assuming you’ve gotten it already (this may change from school to school) will help you avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and trips to the office.
You will, rather quickly, get into the flow of high school, and once you do all of this will come naturally. Just give it a bit of time and patience, and soon enough you should fit in with everyone else – or, at the very least, find the clique with which you most readily relate.