It’s a nerve-wracking time of year for kids moving between schools. Having left St Peter’s Junior School for Rushcliffe School four years ago, the doubts and worries I had about leaving my comfort zone and transitioning to a slightly bigger secondary school are distant memories.
So I figured, why not be the big sister and offer younger children a guide to a pain-free transition? Here are five steps to a successful start to the next chapter in your school life:
- Uniform. The change in the uniform a couple of years ago at Rushcliffe School caused a lot of talk. Rumours spread that there was metal in the skirts we had to wear so they couldn’t be rolled up, people made up that hats were now part of the uniform, and the idea of boys wearing braces with their trousers even surfaced. The truth is that yes, the new girls’ skirts are surprisingly long and expensive, but, no, they really aren’t that ugly (and for your information, the skirts can be rolled over at the top!)
- Catching the bus. For those of you who have to catch the bus, you probably should have received a free bus pass from the County Council. My advice is to always bring an emergency pound with you just in case you forget your pass; some bus drivers might let you on for free, but you can never rely on this. Despite the fact that sitting on the back seat on my first day was a bad move for me, there really aren’t any claimed seats, so you can sit where you like. To make sure you don’t end up missing the bus, try to turn up about 10 minutes before it leaves. But in the unlikely event you do miss it, give the school a ring and tell them what’s happened, then urgently call your mum!
- Getting lost. It’s inevitable. The change in school size is always very daunting. You felt comfortable and at ease in your primary school where you knew it like the back of your hand, and a huge secondary school with multiple buildings seems incredibly scary. Don’t be afraid to ask somebody for directions if you don’t know where your next lesson is and don’t worry about being late for the first few weeks, as the teachers are understanding.
- Making the most of lunch time. When I was in year 7, lunch times were a huge worry of mine. I had an image in my head like every single American teen movie, where you walk in and get judged by almost everybody there. The room goes silent and all eyes are on you. Lunchtimes are nothing like this. They’re a prime time to make new friends and approach others, and there’s no stereotype for what you have to wear or look like to make friends, so wear the bag you want to wear and buy the shoes you like. After all, how are you going to make a mate if you’re just the same as everybody else? Also, don’t worry about the older kids. They really aren’t that mean – they were your age once too!
- Homework. Everybody hates it, even the teachers. However, it isn’t actually that big of a deal. Yes, you’ll get a fair amount of work to do out of school, but the teachers are rational and they won’t give you essay after essay to write. Besides, they have to mark them, too. Lots of homework is set online, so it’s easy to access and not that hard to complete. And after all, homework is there to help and support you – don’t forget: practice makes perfect!
In conclusion, you can approach your secondary education in one of two ways. You can grow in independence and confidence, discover more about yourself and the world around you, and make lots of new friends for life. Or you can hide away and fit in with the crowd. Which would you chose?