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Starting high school

high; school; primary; teachers; friends; secondary;


Finishing primary school and starting high school is one of the most significant changes in your life, and you might feel both excited and afraid about the prospect. Fear not! Here is an article that can help you move on to high school with minimal difficulty.

The website Reachout has lots of info for young people who are having tough times. 
https://au.reachout.com/   There are lots of articles that might be useful for you when you are starting high school or changing school


Leaving primary school

It may be hard for you to leave your primary school. You may have been there since reception and have had the same friends all this time, or perhaps you didn’t enjoy it very much and can’t wait to move on to a new opportunity. If you are sad about leaving your friends or even teachers, make sure you get their contact details so that you can keep in touch. You could even make plans to meet at a local park every week or month to make sure you stay friends. Some of your friends may even be going to the same high school as you.

Choosing your new school

It can be difficult choosing which school you are going to. Your parents may be making this decision for you. Their decision may depend on money, as well as what you or they might prefer.

In some places you have to go to your local school because you are in the area.

If you can be involved in the decision-making process, look at what the various schools are offering and see if any subjects really appeal to you. Perhaps a school specialises in music, languages or physical education and you may be able to go to a specialist school if you have shown that you have a talent in the area of their specialisation..

The first day

Here it is!! The big day. You may be really excited about this or really nervous. Just remember – there are a whole group of new people, not just you, so you don’t need to feel like they are all staring at you.

If you don’t know anyone, try speaking to someone from your class – imagine how much you would appreciate it if someone spoke to you. This could ease the tension and give you someone to share the new experiences with.

Changes at high school

Probably the most significant change is that when you were in primary school you were at the top of the school and probably felt very valued and important – you may even have been given special responsibilities – but in your first year at high school it all changes.

All of a sudden you have become one of the youngest students at the school. Some of the older students may even tease you about this - or at least let you know that you are the youngest.

Also, while at primary school, you probably had only one teacher to relate to most of the time (except maybe for sport or music), and only one classroom. At high school you will probably have different classrooms and different teachers. It may be difficult at first to remember all the teacher’s names (and for them to remember you) and it may be hard remembering where to go for the different classes! This means having to take on new responsibilities that you may not have been used to.

Make sure that you write everything down somewhere - such as your diary - so you can remember where you need to go and what subject you will be doing.

New stresses

Although all of these new challenges can be exciting and a lot of fun, you may feel a little stressed at times. Here are some of the things you may be feeling:

  • lost and confused, until you are familiar with the new situation.
  • sad that you are not with your old friends, and missing being and playing with them.
  • lonely and unhappy, waiting to make new friends.
  • anxious or afraid that you will not be able to cope with the new lessons and stuff you are learning.
  • worried that you will not fit into any group to hang around with.
  • concerned that your parents will have expectations that you can’t meet.
  • a bit tired and worn out from all this energy involved with starting a new school.

How to cope

Don’t panic! Remember that you are not the only person who is starting high school, and that nearly every student starting high school is feeling like you. Here are some ideas that may help to ease the stress!

  • Stay in contact with your "old" school friends, particularly while you haven’t made close friends at high school.
  • Give it time. Everybody starts off with no friends but soon you will have a new group of friends that you hang out with and have fun with.
  • Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know - they will probably appreciate it and then you will know someone.
  • Ask the student counsellor or one of the teachers to help you if you are struggling with school in any way – maybe you can’t manage the workload to start with, or can’t find your way around the new school. Help will be there if you ask.
  • Get involved in school activities (music, sport, debating), and you will meet new people with the same interests.
  • Look at the positives of being at high school – new school facilities, more independence, more variety in classes, some choice in what you want to study.
  • If you feel like you are being harassed by anyone at your new school, go to someone you trust and talk about it.
  • Get organised. Use your timetable and diary to keep on track.
  • Pack your school bag the night before so that you are sure you have everything you  will need for the next day's lessons.
  • Be yourself. Don't try to impress others by showing off your skills or being a 'try hard'. You will be spending a lot of time with the same people in the next few years. You have plenty of time to get to know each other.
  • Make the most or your chance to learn, aske questions if you don't understand. Use your time well. It's your time wasted if you don't do your best.

Josh says:

“When you’re in primary school, you get to hear all the urban myths about high schools. That’s what the stories are – myths, which means they are not true. Of all the kids who go to high school each year, a few may have problems settling down, a few may have problems getting themselves organised or making friends, but most kids take advantage of everything their school has to offer. With a positive attitude, you’ll be okay too”.



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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor or other health professional.
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