RULE ONE: YOU ARE NOT AN UPPERCLASSMAN
Many people enter high school after a year of sitting at the top of junior high. They feel powerful, competent, and mature compared to their younger friends. It’s likely that after your first week of high school you’ll be completely brought back down to earth. The key here is RESPECT. You are expected to respect the upperclassmen, regardless of their social status, gender, race, intelligence, or appearance.
RULE TWO: BECOME FRIENDS WITH SOMEONE IN A HIGHER GRADE
Take classes that will allow you to meet older people. These people will help you greatly by introducing you to more people, warning you about teachers and school customs, and will also give you someone to sit with if none of your friends are in your lunch shift.
RULE THREE: PEOPLE CHANGE
The kids that you thought were complete geeks last year can go from the bottom half of the social ladder to the top half. The people who you used to think were the ultimate untouchables in junior high can be left completely in the dust. Or it could stay the same. Keep your options open and be nice to everyone.
RULE FOUR: LEARN TO DO HOMEWORK
Some people go through their first nine years of school without even having to lift a finger…no studying, no essays, no long readings…but I guarantee you that this year you’ll hit at least one class that will require you to actually do work. If you’ve been studying through school the past few years, good job…it won’t make a difference to you at all…
RULE FIVE: FRESHMAN GIRLS, BEWARE!
The older guys have dated, broken up with, and dated again lots of the girls in the upper grades. They’re watching you and “gauging your potential”. But remember…they may look good compared to the guys in your grade, but don’t completely leave the boys in your class behind. Some day they’re going to be the senior guys and their voices will stop squeaking…and you’ll be left saying “I wish…!” If you do choose to date an older guy, make sure you know your boundaries ahead of time. He might be more experienced than you’re willing to be. Don’t pressure yourself or let anyone else pressure you into anything you don’t feel ready for.
RULE SIX: FRESHMAN GUYS, BEWARE!
I guess it’s kind of traditional…you are the scapegoats of the school. This year will be a year that you’ll look back on and probably be glad it’s over. The older guys will tease you (some more than others…luckily, there will be guys who take you under and become friends with you…) and the older girls you wish you could date will think you’re “cute.” But don’t worry…cause the only reason you’re taking all of the heat this year is because the same people who are teasing you got it when they were freshmen. You’ll be on the other end of it soon enough.
RULE SEVEN: GET INVOLVED
It’s best to get involved with clubs, organizations, and challenging classes. Not only will this look good to future employers and colleges, but it’ll help you meet new people and expand your interests. I know you’re probably hearing that over and over again, but it’s worth the effort these extra clubs require.
RULE EIGHT: STAY OPTIMISTIC
Yeah, you’ll have your down days, but you’ll have your up days, too. (I cried my whole first week of high school, then I decided I loved it, then I hated it, then I loved it…and so on and so on…) It’s scary to go from your safe old school to a scary new one, and it’s hard for lots of people to adjust. Just give it time (a few months) before you resign yourself to your bedroom for life.
RULE NINE: BE YOURSELF
I know…I know…everyone says it, but if you’re not yourself…who else are you going to be? Someone else? Someone else who you don’t know nearly as well as yourself? Know where you stand on drugs, alcohol, and sex (you’ll probably be pressured to experiment more in high school). If you don’t think you know yourself, take this summer to find out.