Are you starting at a brand-new high school? You're probably feeling excited and nervous (and maybe a little sad that summer is over). Those butterflies in your stomach are natural! Many teenagers tend to feel nervous or scared to start high school because of the new things they are often faced with: teachers, peers, a new school, and maybe even a new community. Moving to a bigger city for school can be an especially overwhelming experience. You may feel lost and confused, lonely and unhappy at times, and you may become preoccupied thinking about your home community, family members, and friends. You may even worry that you will not be able to cope with the new demands, or that you won’t fit in. These kinds of thoughts and feelings are very normal!
The first day is your chance to find your way around and get acquainted with your surroundings. It's a lot to learn in one day, so don't be surprised if you need a reminder or two! Take your time and be patient with yourself. It’s okay if you feel a bit lost and confused at first, as it will take time to adjust. Teachers are most often patient, and understand that it takes a lot of adjustment for the first few weeks. It might help to write a few notes to yourself so you'll remember the important stuff, like how you will get to school, course schedules, locker combinations, and what time lunch starts. Before you know it, you will have everything figured out and you won’t have to check your notes anymore!
Here are a few extra tips to help you have a fantastic school year:
· Get enough sleep. Most adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep per night; however, fewer than eight percent of high school students report getting this amount. Insufficient sleep has been shown to be associated with a wide variety of adverse outcomes in multiple aspects of their lives from poor mental and physical health, to behavioral problems and poor academic grades.
· Eat a healthy breakfast. Not eating breakfast can affect academics, brain functioning, and overall wellness. Additionally, hunger can lead to lower math scores, attention problems, as well as behavioural, emotional, and academic difficulties.
· Try your best. Try to write down your assignments and turn in your homework on time but don’t beat yourself up if you fall behind! There are always ways in which you can catch up or try again.
· Take your time with school work. If you don't understand something, ask someone for help! Ask your teachers, family members, or friends! Others cannot help you if they do not know you are in need of assistance.
· Be patient with yourself. Adjusting takes a lot of time and energy. Remember, no matter how far you may be from your community, family members, or friends, you are never alone. Help is only one phone call, text, e-mail, or airplane ticket away.
Make sure to give things a fair amount of time to sort themselves out. If you find yourself hating high school after day one, don’t give up. New situations can be daunting until you are able to adjust. Once you know your way around the building and become comfortable with the new routine, you'll probably feel better. If those feelings don't seem to fade over time, don’t be afraid to reach out to your family, friends, teachers, or other professionals for assistance.
Wheaton, A. G. Chapman, D. P., & Croft, J. B. (2016). School start times, sleep, behavioral, health, and academic outcomes: A review of the literature. Journal of School Health, 86(5), 363-381. doi:10.1111/josh.12388
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