Hey guys! So I know it's like the middle of the school year, but I've been thinking about doing this tip for a while. I remember being a eighth grader a few years ago and freaking out towards the end of the school year because high school was coming up and I was afraid that because I was weird and nerdy, I would be all alone as a freshman. I made this tip for all of the eighth graders that feel as nervous and freaked out as I did. Enjoy!

1.High school may seem big and scary, but in reality? It’s not. It’s not like the movies (Mean Girls is an especially bad portrayal) or the TV shows. Of course it’s natural to feel nervous, but once you get into the swing of things, high school is more fun than you’d ever expect. 

2.You will meet new people, so don’t limit yourself to the people you’re already friends with. Break out of that shell and make new friends. That doesn’t mean you have to forget about your old ones, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and develop new relationships. 

3.The school work WILL get more challenging, so develop and stick to a study routine that works for you. Definitely don’t let the procrastination bug get to you or come midnight the night before a big paper or project is due, you’ll regret it. 

4.Join activities! I can’t stress this one enough. You’ll meet so many new people 
and develop relationships you never thought you could. You don’t have to join every club or sports team, but joining a few that you know you are going to stick to will make your high school career much more fun and exciting. For example, I’m in marching band, yoga club, knitting and crocheting club, community service club and on the Ultimate Frisbee team. 

5.Don’t see a club you want to join? Make your own! Find out your school’s policy on creating clubs first and then see if you have friends who are interested (you obviously need people to join the first meeting). If you’re too scared to found it alone, ask a friend to help. My two best friends co-founded the knitting and crocheting club in only a few months. We now have over 30 members and it’s still growing! 

6.Get on the teacher’s good side. It doesn’t hurt to wish your teacher a good weekend before heading out of class or to ask questions and be sure to always turn in your work on time. Making an effort in class will help you in the long run (some of my friends’ teachers have even bumped their grades up a letter grade when they had a borderline grade because they worked so hard in the class and made a good effort)

7.Have a spare set of clothes (t-shirt, sweat pants, socks) in your locker. You never know when an accident is going to occur and leave your shirt with a huge mustard stain on the front. 

8.Also, keep a jacket with you at all times (a lightweight one that fits easily into a backpack or bag is ideal). If your school is anything like mine, it’s got a severe case of bipolar disorder, hot in one room and freezing in the next. 

9.The upperclassman do not hate you. They may dislike you a bit because freshman tend to be a bit more immature (I’m still quite guilty of the immaturity, myself), but they won’t go to great lengths to hate on you. Just stay out of their way and they’ll stay out of yours. 

10.Some upperclassman guys may try to hit on you. Unless you know for a fact that they are sincerely nice guys, it’s best to ignore them. Do you really want to date a guy that is so desperate that he can’t even get a girl his own age? Just saying. 

11.Do your work when it is assigned. Your stress level and your grades will thank you later. 

12.This is a high school, not a strip club. Cover up girls, please. 

13.Be yourself. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but it really is important. It may seem like being like everyone else is the most important thing in high school, and for some people it is, but in reality it isn’t. If you’re being yourself, you’ll make friends who accept you for you, not your fake personality, and develop lasting relationships.

14.Guys aren’t everything. Whoa there! Before you hurl rotten tomatoes and cabbages at me, just hear me out. I’m not saying that having a boyfriend is a bad thing, in fact, it is quite a nice thing most of the time. But you don’t want to be one of those girls who defines themselves by their significant other and is so terrified of being single that they can’t develop a happy, healthy relationship to begin with, nor can they be happy with themselves. Make sure you’re developing relationships that will help you grow as a person and don’t let guys run your whole life. 

15.There will be drama. There’s no getting around it. After a while, you’ll see the people it happens too most and learn how to avoid them. If you’re always in a fight with your best friends or constantly getting jealous when your boyfriend talks to his other girl friends (friends that are girls, whatever), maybe you are one of those people. If so, you may want to do an reality check and determine what it is that makes you stir up drama so often. 

16.There will be rumors. Along with the drama, gossip spreads like wildfire in high school, bad more often than good. The best thing to do is to hold your head high and ignore it if it is about you or talk to a trusted adult (teacher, parent, guidance counselor) if it is particularly bad. As tempting as it may be to spread the gossip, ignoring it is really the best thing to do. If it was about you, would you want other people to be talking about it? Exactly. 

17. Keep Band-Aids in your locker for the occasional paper cut or scraped knee in gym class. Preferably ones with dinosaurs or Hello Kitty on them. Trust me, they are a great conversation starter.

18.You don’t need to bring your whole make up drawer with you in your bag. Just the essentials (concealer, lip gloss/balm, mascara, eyeliner if you really want too) will suffice. 

19.Make an effort to look nice. Now, I’m not saying you have to wear a ball gown to school every day, but don’t be afraid to wear a skirt or - gasp!- a dress. A little effort goes a long way to help your own self-esteem and looking good will definitely boost your confidence. Just make sure the reasons you’re looking nice are purely for yourself, or else you may come off as fake (just a warning, in no way meant to offend anyone). 

20.Do the reading! While Sparknotes is a good study tool to refresh your memory on what happened in a chapter or to take quizzes, and it may be okay for the occasional missed chapter when your night is completely swamped, it is NOT a substitute for the actual book. Trust me, when the test and the essay come up, you’ll be glad to have actually read the text. 

21.Keep a stash of food in your backpack or locker. Not a big one- you don’t need a Thanksgiving feast in there- but just have 1 or 2 granola bars or something similar that won’t go bad if you don’t eat it right away. This is especially handy if you have an early lunch period (mine last year was 3rd period- about 9:30 in the morning) and your teachers don’t let you eat in class (most don’t, though some don’t care). Just make sure to refill your stash if you eat it all!

22.Always keep feminine products in your locker, preferably in a small pouch in the back of the top shelf or somewhere unnoticeable. That way if it happens to fall out, you won’t have to deal with possibility of major embarrassment (this happened to my friend when she was talking to a cute guy from our AP European History class. Needless to say, the conversation was a bit awkward after that). 

23.Take AP and Honors (known as pre-AP classes at some schools) classes. The course load is more difficult and there will be more work, but there is a much greater pay off in the end. Not only does it look great on college applications, but you get a more enthusiastic, involved class (meaning you’ll be more likely to stay awake and pay attention). This is not to say that those in the regular level classes are dumb nor that they are always immensely boring. There is nothing wrong with taking a regular level college prep class, but I do recommend taking at least one Honors or AP class if you are good, genuinely like and want to take a subject at a more advanced level. 

24.Popularity isn’t everything. Quite contrary to popular belief, popularity doesn’t have to define you in high school. There’s no use being someone you’re not just to make friends who aren’t going to know the real you just to be “popular”. It’s more important to build strong, real relationships with people you connect with than rely on a stupid, high school label to define you. If you happen to make real friends with the “popular” crowd, then there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s also nothing wrong with making friends with that shy girl from your math class or that crazy, awkwardly funny guy in your band class. Be your own person. Make friends with people you want to be friends with, not with people only for the reason that they can get you into the biggest parties and with hottest boyfriends. Because if that’s all you want- no matter how many “friends” you have- when life happens and you need someone to talk to, you might just feel more alone than before. 

25.Whew, you made it through the whole list! Now, for one last tip that every incoming freshman should know: Remember that it’s just high school. That’s right. Just high school. It’s not the “real world” yet, though it is certainly not the controlled, sheltered world that you knew as a kid. High school is a time for discovering yourself and becoming your own person. It is a time for having a great deal of fun before you become a full adult with full adult responsibilities. High school is a time for making friends and loving life. Things may seem bad at some points. It may seem like nothing will ever go right again, but just remember that it is not the end of the world. Time moves on. Rumors and gossip fade. Friendships and relationships form and finish, but it’s not the end of your life. Remember that it is just high school and, don’t worry, you’ll make it through, no matter what.
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