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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 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?
--Libby, 12

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Libby,
Starting a new grade can be a bit intimidating sometimes but most of the time it’s totally fun! Lockers are tricky but the main thing is just to practice. I never had a lock with a combination until my first year of high school and to tell you the truth, it’s a breeze. Once you get your lock and the combination, just try to open it a few times to just get the hang of it. For remembering the combination, you can try making a song out of the numbers or you could just write down the combination and give it to your parents! That way you know you can trust them, but if you ever forget you can call them for the combo! Good luck and have fun!
--Natalie, IML Mentor

Dear Libby,
I remember getting my own locker in grade 7 too. They're pretty useful, and they give you a good feeling of security. If you think you might have trouble remembering the combination, I suggest writing it down and sticking it in a pocket in your binder or backpack -- anywhere that only you can access, but where you can easily reach it if you need to. If you're nervous about that, then just practice opening your lock a lot before the year starts. Even if you don't quite remember the numbers, you'll be able to remember which way your fingers need to turn the knob, and that should help. Good luck!
--Sarah, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
I'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!
--Mandi, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Mandi,
I know exactly how you feel, funnily enough. When I was in middle school, my four closest friends were put into one homeroom and I was put into another. This happened both years! With plenty of chances to spend time together and make new friends, you'd think they would have forgotten about me. But they never did, and we're still close friends today! Here's the thing: in middle school, the only real time you have to socialize with kids is at lunch, and there are no walls separating you and your friends then. Not only that, but middle school is there to prepare you for high school, so in the classroom, kids are expected to sit down and learn; your friends won't be very busy making new friends or becoming better friends, because (hopefully) they'll all be concentrating on their work. Good luck on middle school! I hope I lessened your fears a bit. Just remember that even though you're in different homerooms, you'll still have plenty of chances to hang out at lunchtime and during activities.
--Sarah, IML Mentor

Dear Mandi,
It is completely understandable for you to be a little nervous about being in a new setting with people you don't know. However, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Just like you, there will probably be other kids who don't know anyone in their homeroom and want to say hi but are just too nervous to take that first step. I know it can be really scary, but maybe you could be that person who takes the initiative to strike up a conversation. Sometimes the most difficult part of kicking off a new friendship is the initial "hi," but it can also be the most rewarding. Also, just because you are not with your old friends in homeroom does not mean you guys still can't be friends. Most of my friends are not in any of my classes nor have they ever been, and I'm in high school. If you guys like spending time together and are willing to make that extra effort of finding each other at lunch or your free time, it will all work out. You can also try to make a special meeting place like my friends and I do. One of our favorite shows is "Gossip Girl" so like Blair and Serena, my friends and I meet on the steps in front of our school every day before lunch, that way no matter what our schedule, we will see each other. I hope everything works out and congrats on starting middle school!
--Joy, IML Mentor

Hey Mandi!
It sounds to me like you're a little nervous about going to a bigger, scarier school. I had the same thing happen to me my first year of middle school; all of my other friends were in the same class, and I was hung out to dry. My friends always told me how much they missed me through the day, but if your school is like mine, you guys will have the whole lunch period, and maybe exploratories, to hang out and catch up. Just remember -- if you act like you don't want to hang out with your friends, they probably won't! Just keep a good attitude and always keep your head held high. Good luck in middle school!
--Emily, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I'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?
--Anonymous, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Anonymous,
First of all, you may think you'll hate middle school now -- I thought I was going to when I got into grade seven -- but it's actually quite a blast! Reading books about middle school doesn't do it the justice it deserves. There is no recess, sure, but that's because you're considered to be mature enough to handle the extra half hour of class. And you'll be having so much fun in class, and the material they present to you is much more interesting than what you had in middle school, and more challenging. You may be surprised to hear this, but at 11-12 years old most boys and girls still aren't mature enough to date! Even now, in grade 10, I can count maybe ten or twelve of my friends that are in relationships. So you don't need to worry about all of the "loooove" that will be going on -- because it won't! Hope that makes you a little happier. If you have any more questions or worries about middle school, my suggestion to you is to go out and ask someone you know who's been through middle school! Since there's nothing you can do to avoid it, you may as well make the best of it, so try to concentrate on just having fun. Trust me -- there will be plenty of chances to have fun.
--Sarah, IML Mentor

Anonymous,
I know going to middle school can be scary for everyone. Usually the first few days you are there, your teachers will help navigate you to your classes. Sometimes they allow you to have a few extra minutes to get to your classes. By the second or third week, you will most likely feel like you've been going there for years! Even though you don't get recess, lunch is a great time to get out your excess energy. My advice is to stay calm, cool and collected and that will make a big difference! By the way: if you think you're going to do bad, odds are you will! So stay confident! Good luck!!
--Emily, IML Mentor

Dear Anonymous,
It sounds like you are really stressed about going to middle school next year. Although I'm in high school right now, I remember having the same type of feelings as you. I thought that that middle school meant that I was entering this whole other world of gossip and boys and that terrified me. However, it really was not that bad. Actually, I loved middle school. Middle school is a great transition period between elementary school and high school. You get to do more things and have more responsibility, but not the stress and difficulty of high school. I know that you said you get a lot of information about middle school from books you are reading, but a lot of the time books exaggerate the middle school experience. You are still going to school with the same people and just because you are in middle school does not mean all of a sudden your relationship with then or the type of people they and you are will change. About recess...it stinks. I'm not going to lie...I still miss recess and I'm in high school. However, you will be able to do so many different things in high school that you don’t miss recess unless you start thinking about "the good ol' days." If the thought of middle school still stresses you out, then talk to someone who is in middle school now about their experience. Ask them about what has made their experience enjoyable and any suggestions they have for you. Also, join clubs and sports teams that interest you...that way you get to do things you enjoy. Hope your middle school experience turns out well.
--Joy, IML Mentor

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