|High School: Margo's Story
Margo, 13, is facing her final days as an 8th grader. She likes her middle school, especially her U.S. history classes, but feels like she's ready to move on. "I'm kind of getting over it," she says. "I feel so much older than the other kids, 'cause they're so much younger and look so much smaller."
Next September, Margo will be starting 9th grade at the local high school, which has a large campus of buildings. She's excited about moving up, but also a tiny bit worried. "It's a whole different school," she says, "and that's a little scary."
So, what will it feel like to go from being one of the oldest kids in middle school to one of the youngest kids in high school? "It's probably going to feel exactly how it did on my first day of 6th grade," says Margo. "I was really scared, and then after a day or so, I was perfectly fine about it."
Being an only child, Margo doesn't have older sibs who can give her the lowdown, but she's spoken to older friends who are already in high school. She asked them about how she might meet new people. "One friend told me that if you do a sport, then you become friends with a lot of people. You meet your teammates, and you have to spend a lot of time with them, and then I guess you become friends with them."
Fortunately, Margo isn't worried about the whole popularity scene. She didn't feel any pressure to be popular in her middle school, and from what she's heard, it isn't going to be a big deal in high school, either. "There's no real popularity thing, it's just your group of friends. There's just different groups, they're not competing to be the best." Margo feels that as long as she has friends, it doesn't matter what others think.
Margo's new school offers lots of academic choices, but as a freshman, she'll be taking mostly required courses. It's okay by her; this way, she can get used to being a high school student before deciding what types of courses appeal to her.
Says Margo, "Right now, I'm taking only the things I have to, until I get more into high school. I just want to get settled into it. I am going to have some harder classes, because I'm taking a couple of honors classes. My English teacher recommended me for honors English, so I'm going do that. And there's a science magnet program, so I'll be in honors science too."
The idea of taking these advanced classes is something Margo discussed with her parents, and everyone agreed she should do it. It will be a challenge, especially since she knows her high school teachers will expect more out of her. "I know it's going to be pretty tough," adds Margo, "because they give out a lot of homework. But if I organize it well, and I know how to organize it, then I think it will be okay."
One of the many differences between Margo's middle school and high school is the amount of freedom and control the students have. "There aren't that many clubs at our middle school," she says, "and they're all pretty strict, because the teachers run them. But in high school, things are different. They have a bunch of clubs that are run by the students and that could actually be interesting. You're more mature in high school than you are in middle school, and I guess they can trust you more."
One thing Margo is really excited about is her cheerleading tryout for the high school's pep squad, which will take place before summer starts. Says Margo: "There was a meeting a couple days ago. It was a bunch of girls from high school, and I talked to them. There's going to be clinics to go to, so I'm going to do that all next week to prepare for the tryout." If Margo does well at the tryout and makes the squad, then the really hard work will begin. "There's practices all summer, except for July, and you have to go to a four-day camp."
Margo recently attended a "freshman orientation breakfast" at the high school, where she and the other 8th graders learned a lot more about what's in store for them in September. She picked up some very useful information, like the fact that she'll be taking most of her classes in one building. "It's a relief to know I won't be scurrying all over the campus to get to classes on time!" she says.
During the orientation, Margo got a tour of the school. She asked the student tour guide about the different clubs that freshmen could join, and found out that her choices ranged from "Best Buddies" to the "X-Box Halo Club." Because the breakfast was for students from several different middle schools, Margo also got the chance to talk to some incoming freshmen she'd never met. "Everyone said that they were excited to enter high school as well!" .
Margo also kept an eye out for people who can advise her during the transition, and found that her former 6th grade counselor will be at the high school now, so Margo can go to her with any questions or problems.
Her advice to future freshmen who are nervous about making the jump? "Definitely get a tour of the school, that's the most important. If they don't offer one, try to find a student to show you around after school one day."
She's got a lot of hard work ahead of her, but Margo is up to the challenge. After three years in middle school, she's ready to move on, and she's confident that her best years are ahead of her! Good luck, Margo!