In middle school, especially eighth grade, teachers always prepare students to go to “the high school.” It sounds like a formidable, distant land, where upperclassmen rule and freshmen are at the bottom of the social ladder. You ask your older friends if it really is that bad, and some say yes and some say no. Your nerves are jittery and you might be afraid of what could happen. Most of us have been there, especially if we have no older siblings to guide us. However, there are some simple ways to ease the transition from middle school to high school, and it all starts in the summer.
<Editor’s Note: This is a guest opinion blog by Emily Zheng, a recent graduate of Dana Middle School.>
I believe one of the best ways to transition is to take AEF Summer School. It’s a win-win situation: if you’re not going on vacation, why not learn something useful, get college credits, andmeet new friends, even before school starts? Summer can sometimes get tedious if you don’t take summer school, but if you take it, there are benefits! Summer school gets you familiar with Arcadia High’s campus. Trips to the library with your class can give you a quick overview of how things are placed, and 20-minute breaks allow students to explore the campus if they wish. Taking a class can also let you meet new people from other middle schools and to make new friends. Science classes typically have 30 to 40 people, so by the end of the summer, you’ll get to know at least everyone in your class. Time management may seem like a problem, but it was easy to manage my time, even though I took Chemistry and had other extra-curricular activities. Instead of studying for 5 other tests as is often the case during the school year, I only had to study for one! Yes, there is more homework, but with good organization, homework and studying do not take more time than a regular school day.
Counselors, during programming, encourage you to join clubs, join music, try out for academic teams, or try out for sports. I completely agree with them. Clubs, teams, and music create bonding between its members and let you meet a wide array of people of all ages. Team bonding can even begin in the summer. Some teams have summer workshops, such as Speech and Debate and Marching Band, so you’ll get a head start on knowing how the team works and knowing your fellow teammates! There are usually informational meetings about most, if not all, teams before tryouts, so if you’re even a little interested, I advise you to go to them. You’ll see if the team matches your personality and if you have enough time to dedicate to it.
The high school isn’t a formidable place – just get to know how it works, the campus, the students and faculty, and one day you will grow to love the school in which you spent your high school years. Taking summer school, joining teams, clubs, or music, and even a small hello to someone in your class on your first day of school might just make your transition to high school so much easier. I hope this will help those of you transitioning onto the high school now or in the future. Best of luck!