elementary schools, so there will be plenty of new faces. Or perhaps, you're starting at a totally new school system or private school, where you don't know a soul.
Whatever your situation, you're going from being one of the oldest kids at school to one of the youngest. You might be taking classes or doing activities with eighth or ninth-graders who seem a million times bigger! Remember, though: these "big kids" were once newbies just like you, and most of them will be friendly and willing to help. If you find yourself in a situation where older students are using their size or status to bully you, tell a member of the school staff.
Because of the variety of courses and activities in middle school, differences between people might become a little more obvious. You'll probably notice kids who do great in academics, some who score big on the playing field, and others who are into the arts. Sometimes, people form "cliques" or groups according to what they have in common.
Although it's natural to spend time with people who share your interests, try to keep yourself open to everyone, despite how they might dress or spend some of their time. You might discover new people who love the same music you do, or have similar taste in movies. This is especially true when it comes to students of different ethnic backgrounds than you're familiar with. A new school and new student body is a great opportunity to learn about people, places, and cultures from all over the world.
In our next section, we talk to one student who's about to enter middle school, and one who just made it through her first year:
Stan and Sarah.