5 Tips for Getting Ready for High School

The 8th graders we know are both excited and nervous about the big transition to high school. New opportunities can be thrilling. The unfamiliar and additional stresses can be daunting. What a time! Here are four tips to help teens ease the important transition to high school.
Cope Ahead—There are lots of ways to cope ahead. Get your schedule ahead of time if you can. It can help you imagine how your days will be structured. And, if you can do a walk through on your new campus, do it. It’s interesting to see how helpful it is to check out class and food locations as well as other locations of interest. Does your school offer an orientation? Attending that will give you more ways to cope ahead. If you are worried about some particular challenge that you might face that first day or week, see if you can come up with a few strategies ahead of time of how you want to deal. Cope ahead and work your plan.
Build Your Team—We all need a team! It can include our friends, parents, coaches, older brothers, sisters, cousins. It can include people faraway that we stay connected to online and by phone. It can include people we see every day. Make a list of the people who care about you. Who can you turn to for practical advice or creative problem solving? Who is your go-to for emotional support? Ask them for their most helpful ideas for the high school transition.
Engage in Self-Care—Yeah, high school can be stressful. Life can be stressful. Now is a great time to continue to build your skills for reducing stress and taking care of yourself. Find what works for you. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Really. And, find some balance. Time with friends who have your back is important. And so is down time and me-time. What else restores and relaxes you? It may be hanging out with your dog. Or engaging in vigorous exercise. Or just noticing your breath – or the sunset – or the sound of your favorite music. Balance your self-care with striving to accomplish your goals.
Get Involved—High school is a time to explore interests and passions. Sports, theater, music, journalism, community service clubs, are just a few of the activities that we get to explore in our high school years. Getting involved in something is a great way to connect with new people, experience a sense of belonging, learn new skills, and have fun.
Use Your Imagination for Good—You may have noticed that sometimes it is easy to imagine the worst things that could happen in high school. This is a tendency that many of us have when we face new challenges. The cool thing about our imaginations is that we can just as easily use them to imagine the best possibilities for high school. You may want to experiment with imagining your first day – feeling confident and comfortable. You may want to imagine discovering enjoyable activities, classes, and interesting people. You may enjoy becoming absorbed in imagining learning new things, learning from mistakes and through perseverance. Let your imagination be your friend, easing your way into this new adventure of high school.