The beginning of a new school year is a time when most students feel a mixture of anxiety, excitement and fear. For students in elementary and middle school, nothing is worse than the apprehension of not being able to fit in socially or succeed academically. Are these students’ fears justified or are they just irrational thoughts?
When I finished fifth grade in JFK Elementary and was moving up to North Middle, I was probably more nervous than I should have been. I was scared of meeting new people from other schools, I was worried about how to handle an increase in homework and I was anxious about whether or not I’d fit in. Having graduated from middle school and currently heading to high school, I finally realize how silly some of my fears were back in sixth grade.
For those students moving up to middle school, I believe most of the worries students have about moving up are similar to the ones I myself experienced. While there is more work and more academic and social pressure in middle school, it is definitely an enjoyable time for learning and growing, not to mention making friends and developing new skills. Most of the things elementary-school students fear about going into middle school aren’t nearly as bad as they think they will be, since the students will have ample time to make the transition and gradually adjust to a new environment.
When I moved up into sixth grade, I was probably the most nervous kid in my class. I had all the exact fears listed above, and I was too shy to make friends for a while. However, as I got more comfortable with the environment and opened up to my classmates, I started making lots of new friends. Sometimes, having the courage to start a conversation with someone new is the best way new students find their footing in a new school. I believe that opening up to the challenges and confronting the anxieties we feel go a long way to help us ultimately overcome them.
As a rising freshman, I have similar thoughts and fears about moving up to high school. Although I know better now about transitioning to a new school than I did in fifth grade, I still have qualms about whether or not I can make new friends easily and fit in socially, all while keeping up my grades and staying involved in school activities. However, I anticipate that I will be able to transition to high school just as I transitioned to middle school.
In my opinion, the transition to high school for students like me will be similar in some ways to middle school, but also totally different. Since students are now much more mature and more capable of being independent than they were when they transitioned into middle school, they have more control over the choices they make during their transition. Therefore, the feelings and self-doubts students feel about moving up to high school is within their own hands. I am confident that all of my classmates will be able to make friends and find their niches in high school.
While some of the feelings of moving up to a new school, whether it be middle or high school, are justified and normal, some of them are irrational and students should put them out of their minds. Each of us is empowered with the ability to make smart choices, including taking chances and meeting challenges. Oftentimes, our fears are more frightening in our minds than when we face them head-on.
I wish everyone who is moving up to a new school a wonderful and exciting school year.