PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
High School: From the Mentors

From Lauren
My first day of high school, I asked a senior where my class was, and they told me it was "on the fourth floor, next to the pool." I found out five minutes later that we don't even have a fourth floor and no pool either! Besides that incident, I didn't have any trouble with the older kids. In middle school I always heard hazing horror stories, but hazing is illegal and taken very seriously, so it doesn't happen very often.

I think the biggest difference between middle and high school is the homework load and size of the school. I went from maybe fifteen minutes of homework a night to multiple hours, so I had to learn time management pretty quickly! Our junior class size is currently around 550, so being exposed to so many new people was a big change. Getting involved in clubs, sports, music, and other activities at school makes it easier to get to know people in every grade -- it's always useful to have an upperclassman friend!

The best advice I can give about the four years you spend in high school is to learn things for the sake of learning, not just to get a good grade. There have been so many tests that I've crammed for the night before, gotten an A, and now I don't remember anything. I've changed that this year, and I enjoy school so much more. Also relating to academics, don't take easy classes just to have a simple year. If you have a choice between AP Chemistry and "Racquet Sports," the first will prove to be a lot more useful!

While drugs and drinking might be present in some middle schools, they're definitely around in high school. I have a lot of friends who swore they'd never drink or smoke, but are now partying every weekend. You hear this all the time, but that's because it's true: don't give into peer pressure. If you have "fun" and spend your nights wasted instead of studying or hanging out with friends, you will regret it when you're applying for college and realize that you've thrown away the last few years. The "friends" who say you're a loser for not partying are really not your friends at all. It's hard to see your closest friends grow apart and go in different directions, but don't follow their footsteps. Create your own path in life and make your own decisions.

From Samantha
The most exciting thing about starting high school for me was meeting all the older kids, and to be in an environment where I could express myself. I think I was most nervous about whether I would make a good first impression on all the other students, whether I would be left out at all, and whether I would stay friends with the people I was friends with. The hardest part for me was realizing that I needed to grow up and do my homework. On the upside, though, high school is a lot more liberating. You can be yourself and find friends who treat you nicely. My advice to other kids is this: Go easy on yourself, because lessons sometimes take a long time to learn, and there is no such thing as happily ever after. Everyone has problems.

From Carren
I was so excited about starting high school because it meant a big step in growing up, and I loved the prospect of all the fun: school clubs, after-school activities, dating, and parties. But I was also just as nervous about all of those things. I was afraid I would make a huge mistake in my freshman year that would ruin my social life for the next 3 years of high school. I was also afraid the classwork would be so much harder than middle school. After a few months into my 9th grade year, though, I realized going to high school wasn't something to worry about. I was prepared for it by all the learning and growing I had done the year prior. Don't let all of the fears get blown out of proportion.

The social game plays a big role in the transition from middle school to high school. You have the influence of older kids around you and peer pressure hits hard. My advice is not to worry so much about trying to be cool; I had to learn that the hard way. If people are really your friends, they won't ask you to do something you don't feel comfortable doing or that's wrong. I almost lost my best friend because I wanted to be with the "in" crowd, but they didn't want anything to do with her. The things they were involved in didn't fit my definition of "right" either, but I was willing to sacrifice my values to be cool. Stand your ground about what you feel is right for you, even when everybody else seems to give in. Enjoy the new opportunities available to you, but don't push for all the doors to open too soon. Most importantly, remember how nervous you were entering high school and be nice to the freshman when you're a senior!!

From Kerri
Starting high school can be very nerve-wracking and at the same time extremely exciting. What classes to take, what to wear on the first day of school, what will everyone think of me? As realistic as these issues are, DONT WORRY! I know that this is easier said than done, but everything will work out. So far, high school has been the best experience for me ever. I started a brand new school with all new people in 9th grade, and quickly made a whole new set of friends, which makes high school worthwhile! The best advice I can give you is to be yourself. High school is four great years to make amazing friends and an opportunity to learn so much!

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