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Are you having trouble in a certain subject or with a certain teacher at school? Are you nervous about an upcoming project, or going to a new school? Read what our Mentors and experts have to say about this topic.
   
Advice Topics:

Advice Questions about School & Grades:

  • GOI try to be fairly well organized. I keep both a weekly planner and monthly calendar. The only problem is this: I often forget to update both of them. In fact, I sometimes even forget that I actually have them. I am determined to write everything down in them and don't like the idea of keeping appointments and stuff in my head. Do you have any advice on how to remember to regularly update my planner and calendar?

  • GOI need to break my bad habit of procrastinating! I don't want to procrastinate when I hit 8th grade. How can I stop?

  • GOI'm having a problem. I'm missing assignments and permission slips and such, and I don't know why! My teacher says it's because I'm not very organized. How do I become organized?

  • GOI am starting a puberty chapter in my science class. The thing is that the puberty class has some videos about puberty. Worst of all, the boys and girls are going to watch and learn about it together. What should I do?

  • GOI am starting 7th grade next year, and I am real nervous about lockers. I know they can be a convenience, but how do I open a locker and how can I remember the combination? Any advice?

  • GOI'm starting middle school this year! I'm mostly excited, but a little nervous because I don't know anyone in my homeroom class yet. It seems like all my other friends are in the same homeroom class, and I'm kind of afraid that if they spend a lot of time together, they will forget about me and not want to be my friend anymore. Any advice? Thanks!

  • GOI'm going to middle school next year and I KNOW I'll hate every second of it! For some reason, since I've been reading books about it, I think girls will start talking about dating and boys will start asking girls out. It'll drive me nuts! And plus, NO RECESS! And what really doesn't help is that I'm in the Gifted Program and the Board of Education decided the middle school and elementary school should be put together for safety and convenience. So, I'll be tortured with NO recess while I watch little kids playing on the playground! How come there can't be recess in middle school? What should I do?

  • GOGrades mean a lot to people at my school. Kids are always saying things like, "What did you get for your science grade?" Everyone's so competitive and curious, it drives me crazy. What can I do?

  • GOI got my report card today, and my parents won't leave me alone. I got a D and two C's in math, and they expected me to get straight A's! They are screaming at me about how I don't work hard enough and that I'm spending too much time working on my writing, which I got an A+ in. They just don't understand because they both scored A+'s in every math subject there is, but they failed at any literature subjects. It's not like I don't try, it's just that it's harder then they think it is. They aren't the only ones pressuring me though. Now the entire school is hating me because I destroyed our straight A math roll. It's unfair. Everybody else is great at math and not literature, and it's the complete opposite for me! I want to let everyone else know that writing is still a talent, whether they like it or not, but they won't listen! What should I do?

  • GOI am going to a secondary school the size of a small airport. I'm disorganized and not a morning person. My bus will come at 6:40 in the morning! Any advice for organization, getting a good night's sleep, and how to deal with 7th grade?

  • GOIt's the end of the year, and everyone knows what that means...finals! And what comes with such testing is stress. My grades are all A's right now, and I know if I do poorly on the finals, I'll mess my grades up. I'd love to finish middle school with straight A's, but it's difficult! I took my first midterms this year, and I did okay on those. What can I do to lower my stress level and end middle school with a bang?

  • GOMy parents are grade freaks! Getting a B will usually get them disappointed in me. I stress because I know if I get a B I'll be in trouble. Getting a C will usually get them yelling at me. And I don't want to know what will happen if I get a D or and F. Then by getting such good grades to please my parents, kids pick on me! It's really stressful and puts a lot of pressure on me! Please, please, please help!

  • GOI'm going into 7th grade and I was so excited when I got my schedule but when I found out who was next to me (for lockers) I was freaking out, it was this girl who I REALLY don't like. To make it worse she's in pretty much all of my classes! She's with the popular crowd and if you mess with them things get ugly fast. What should I do?

  • GOI've read all your links about going into new schools, time management, if teachers don't like you, etc. It's helped a lot, but I'm still a little scared. At my school they have uniforms. But the uniforms are really dorky, and there are more boys than girls; it's a private school and I've lived in public schools all my life, I don't think I'm going to fit in!!!! It's also a lot smaller than my old school. Do you think gossip and rumors would travel faster because it's small? Could you give me some more tips on this kind of situation?

  • GOI am a smart person who studies, but when it comes to test day I know everything until the test hits my desk. How can I prevent losing all the information I studied all week?

  • GOThis year I just started high school. I dread going. Every morning before school, I feel sick and after school I worry about the next day. I don't want to go and feel like I would do anything to get out of it. I can't really be specific about what I'm afraid of! Getting lost in such a big school, being late, forgetting to do homework or study, and all sorts of things. I've been given advice about handling stress and have been told a million times everything will turn out okay, yet I still feel sick and nervous every school day. What can I do to make my "school sickness" go away? Please respond!

  • GOI'm finally going into high school. But when you're going into high school, you seem to be influenced to do things. I have a few friends who say that I spend too much time with my nose in a book and that I seemed depressed and I need to start dating. Truth be told, I have had a couple of guys look at me and ask me out. My parents don't think that I should rush into things, and I completely agree with them on that. But with me getting older, I'm wanting to get my first kiss and meet a nice guy that likes me back. But I need to keep my grades up, so I can go and visit my dad over the holidays, so I feel as if I don't have enough time for it all. Please...can you give me any advice on how I can work this out?

  • GOI have this really big problem about oral presentations in front of the class. I usually get so nervous that I cry, and it is very embarrassing! I NEED YOUR HELP!!! PLEASE!!

  • GOI'm in the sixth grade in elementary school and going to the seventh in a junior high school. What I am worried about is that I want to do volleyball and track, but I don't want to lower my grades by taking all my time doing sports. Right now I'm an A Honor Roll student, but last year I got into karate and my grades started lowering and lowering until I quit. So what should I do? I don't want to get a bad start. Thanks!

  • GOI'm in 5th grade and I really HATE doing any kind of homework! My mom is on my case about it all the time. I forget my books when I have to have them to study for tests the next day. I don't write down my assignments like I need to. She is always telling me to do these things but it seems like I can't remember any of it at the end of the day. I would rather be drawing or playing. She asks nicely for me to bring my books home, but I forget and then she gets upset, grounds me or takes the things I like away from me. I learn for a couple of days but then it's right back to forgetting.

  • GO"At school, we are learning about the male reproductive system. It's hard for me because I don't feel very comfortable, especially when the teacher says the body parts. What should I do? I know I have to know this lesson because there is a test."

  • GOI am in 7th grade, and I am in pre-algebra. At first, it was okay, but now we're getting into stuff like finding the surface area of a triangular prism, and I have no clue how to do that! I have always gotten straight A's, but we just took a test and I got 47% right! I told my mom and dad that I don't understand this, and that I need to go to regular 7th grade math, but they haven't done anything about it! I've even asked everyone in my family for help, but no one can do this math! What should I do?

  • GOI've always been really good in school with honors classes, and so have my friends, but now I am going to high school and I am afraid everything will become too hard, and I wont be able to have a balance between my social and school life with my family and work too. How will I be able to deal with all that? Please help.

  • GO"I always wait till the last minute to do a project. We have two weeks to do our report, then its due on Wednesday. I'm always up late Tuesday night finishing it. Please help me!"

  • GOInstead of hating my teachers, I really like them. My math teacher is really nice. I like her a lot. And she told my dad (who is a teacher at the same school) that I was kind-of a teachers pet to her. I go up to her classroom almost every day after school for one reason or another just to be there. See, there was this one teacher last year who helped me with this big problem with my friends, and my teacher this year has kind of the same personality. I keep on thinking about how I never want this school year to end because I like this teacher so much. It's kind of a hard situation. I guess what I am really asking is: is it okay to like a teacher this much? Should I let her know how much she means to me now, at the end of the year, or not tell her at all? Thanks for listening.

  • GO"I always turn in my math assignments, but my teacher always says that I didn't. What should I do?"

  • GO"I am a horrible math student. I really try, and I understand it when the teacher explains it, yet I always forget. Plus, I got a C. My dad says he'll ground me if I don't get a B. Anyway, he tries to help me with my homework, but he doesn't know how to do it either. How can I remember how to do the problems?"

  • GO"In my school, sixth grade is a part of elementary school. I heard scary stories about middle school, and my sister is no help. I am scared the eighth graders will use their size to bully me."

  • GOSamantha and Alexandria are both nervous about the jump from elementary school to middle school.


Dear IML,
I've read all your links about going into new schools, time management, if teachers don't like you, etc. It's helped a lot, but I'm still a little scared. At my school they have uniforms. But the uniforms are really dorky, and there are more boys than girls; it's a private school and I've lived in public schools all my life, I don't think I'm going to fit in!!!! It's also a lot smaller than my old school. Do you think gossip and rumors would travel faster because it's small? Could you give me some more tips on this kind of situation?
--Lucy

The IML Mentors respond:

Hi Lucy,
First off I'm really glad that you have read all the other advice, I know that new schools are always a little scary. I switched schools in middle school and actually I'm in a very small private school with uniforms right now. The thing about small schools that is both a blessing and a curse is that you know everyone, and everyone has a name and a face. On the other hand, as you mentioned, gossip does seem to get around a bit quicker because everyone knows what's going on with each other. The thing is rumors are something that you can semi-control. Don't buy into all the gossip, don't talk about other people, and just try to avoid drama. There is a way to avoid it all and not let it bother you, you've just got to stand your ground, and know that while you can't always control other people you can always control yourself. And don't worry about private school, it may be kind of different at first, but it's a great experience and learning environment. Try to look at it in a positive way: starting a new school is a great way to get a fresh start and make new friends.
--Stormie, IML Mentor

Dear Lucy,
Changing schools is a really tough thing to go through. You have new classes and new people you are meeting so it is always a stressful time. However, you mentioned that you are even more scared about switching from public to private. I can tell you that public and private schools are more similar than you might think and you would be going through most of the same things either way. There are also some things you can do to make the transition a little easier for you. I know that for me, when I switched schools I was terrified that I wouldn't make any friends. So I put myself in a bunch of situations that involved a lot of people. I joined clubs, tried out for sports teams, and just tried to talk to as many different people as a possibly could. I know that is sounds scary to talk to new people, but you just have to plunge into it. (Scary, but it will get easier and easier). I hope all works out for you at your new school and that you will do great there
--Joy, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I am a smart person who studies, but when it comes to test day I know everything until the test hits my desk. How can I prevent losing all the information I studied all week?
--Mailisa, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Mailisa, I used to have the exact same problem you have now. I would study really hard and know all of the material, but come test day my mind would just draw a blank. I like to refer to our problem as the "testis nervousis problemis". Essentially we get so nervous and have so much anxiety over the actual test we forget the material that we studied! Unfortunately there is no antidote for this problem that comes in a little vial you can buy at the drugstore. However, it is not a hopeless situation (this is where the hallelujah song should start playing). All you need to do is make sure that you know the material you are being tested on and just remember the fact that you are indeed prepared for the exam. Take a deep breath and just do your best. Even if you do not do as well as you hoped you would, keep in mind that the world will not end and that someday there will be another test where you will be able to redeem yourself (unfortunately, in our student world that day will come). Also, do not be afraid to ask for help from others. Call a friend who does well on tests for a study session and tips or ask a teacher for help. Believe it or not, teachers are not the scary demons they appear to be, but are human beings who actually want to help you (scary thought I know). By asking them for help you are also showing them that you want to do better. Well, I hope your testis nervousis problemis will end soon!
--Joy, IML Mentor

Dear Mailisa,
The thing you should not do is panic. When we panic, we tend to blank out. So, when you get the test paper, take a few deep breaths and try really hard to remember one thing you studied. If you can get one thing, then you'll probably remember the rest! But if that doesn't work, do what I do. If your test is after recess or lunch, get some friends to say facts out loud with you. If your test is before recess or lunch, get your friends to recite the figures and facts on the bus.
--Roxanne, IML Mentor

Hey Mailisa!
It's really frustrating when it seems like all the studying you've done is worthless. It's pretty clear that you have a problem with the testing situation, rather than the information. However, it can still be useful to make up memory tricks. If you have to memorize dates, make them into a song. If you have to memorize names, put them in an order so the first letters spell out or stand for words. So if you needed to remember Carl, Alan, and Tim, just remember that it spells "Cat." Make sure you get a good night of sleep the night before. This is always hard for me because I sit in bed worrying about the next day. Listen to some calm music and try to keep your mind off the test information. When you wake up, have a wholesome, energizing breakfast. Instead of sugary cereal, have whole wheat toast with peanut butter. This will give you energy that you'll need to keep your brain active and awake. Do an overview of some of the information before you leave for school. Try to get to the class a little early so you can sit down and get comfortable. Take a few deep breaths (not from your upper chest, make sure you breathe from your abdomen), and have a confident attitude when your teacher passes out the tests. While taking the test, don't worry about questions you don't know or remember. Keep going and feel good about the ones you can answer well. Remember that if you study, you can't lose the information, you can only lose your confidence. Good luck!
--Lauren, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
This year I just started high school. I dread going. Every morning before school, I feel sick and after school I worry about the next day. I don't want to go and feel like I would do anything to get out of it. I can't really be specific about what I'm afraid of. ! Getting lost in such a big school, being late, forgetting to do homework or study, and all sorts of things. I've been given advice about handling stress and have been told a million times everything will turn out okay, yet I still feel sick and nervous every school day. What can I do to make my "school sickness" go away? Please respond!
--Amy, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Hello Amy,
Congratulations on this new chapter of your life! My cousin has also had a rite of passage, she has just started college and was painstakingly nervous about it. She said that she didn't know what to expect. "What are the kids going to be like?" she'd ask. She was also unsure about her success in college and also asked things like, "What if I fail?" You know Michael Jordan has an inspiring quote, he says, "You only miss the shots you never take." The fact is Becca would only fail if she didn't try. She had to believe in herself. Do you think you a! re afraid of failure? Here's what I suggest you do to get over your fears: Change your attitude. That's it! Here's how: in the morning before you go to school while you are brushing your teeth in the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror, smile big and say, "Amy, you are awesome! I love you! Whatever the day has in store for you, you can handle! Bring it on world! Today will be a great day!" Say this every day. And you MUST smile. :-D God Bless.
--Vanessa, IML Mentor

Dear Amy,
Going from middle school to high school is quite a big change. The size of the school and the new people can be overwhelming, and sometimes it's hard to deal. One thing that has really helped me out as far as worrying is a to-do list. Going through your day hour by hour and writing out priorities and goals sets your mind at ease and makes things seem more manageable. Last year when I was a senior in high school, I made sure my mornings went smoothly by having my backpack packed and my clothes picked out. Simple things like that can take a lot of stress out of your day. If you're worried about forgetting where your classes are, keep a copy of your schedule with you. If this doesn't work, stay after school and follow your schedule around. Also remember that you're not the only one going through this; most people experience some sort of anxiety when entering high school, and it can be helpful to talk about it and realize you're in good company. Good luck!
--Lauren, IML Mentor

Dear Amy,
I agree with you that high school is one of the most difficult times in your life. You have so much going on that you have no clue what to do and you feel like you just can't handle it. The way I deal with all this frustration is by making a schedule and writing things down in it every day. It's not really a journal but just a schedule where I keep track of everything going on such as family get-togethers, homework assignments, project dates, dates, and other stuff like that. I feel that my schedule keeps me organized and stops me from worrying about everything I have to do because it is all in my schedule. Doing this will definitely help you stay more organized. When it comes to dealing with the struggles of high school -- do you have a close friend you can confide in? In doing so, you might feel that you will always have somebody by your side when you need support or back up in a problem. You might also try becoming friendly with a teacher or school counselor that you like. Talk to this teacher and explain how you feel, and hopefully he or she will make you feel comfortable and help you with these problems.
--Joel, IML Mentor

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