First Day of High School Tips

Smiling young high school students talking to each other in hallway
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The transition from middle school to high school can be a harrowing one for many teenagers. New teachers, new classmates, and a heavier workload can cause even the most self-assured students to feel anxious or scared. With a little preparation and planning, however, you'll be able to conquer your first-day-of-high-school fears head on.

1 Attend Orientation

If your high school offers a freshman orientation, attend it. These orientations provide helpful information about the high school's policies and procedures, and they usually provide guided tours of the buildings so that you can get used to the layout. In addition, you'll meet your school’s principal and teachers as well as new classmates, which can be especially helpful if your high school combines students from multiple middle schools in your district. You’ll also learn about new clubs or athletic programs you can join, which can help you meet new people and ease your transition.

2 Plan Ahead

As soon as you can, snag a copy of your class schedule. Then, with a friend or family member, visit your school and map out the path to your locker, your classrooms, the gym and the cafeteria. Begin from where the bus will drop you off and highlight the route. Make a map from start to finish. While you're on your tour, introduce yourself to any teachers who are working in their rooms and seem accessible. Meeting a few familiar, friendly faces in advance can alleviate fears and worries.

3 Use the Buddy System

If you're attending the same school district you've been in your entire life, chances are you'll see friends in some of your classes. Before the first day, compare schedules and see which classes you have in common. Determine a central point to meet up when you arrive at school. If you are new to the district, your guidance office may provide you with an older student mentor to help you navigate the halls. If one isn’t offered, ask at the office for help.

4 Don't Buy Into the Hype

Between the teen-movie stereotypes and tall tales from upperclassmen or older siblings, you may worry that you’ll be shoved into a locker, tripped or stripped of your lunch money. While bullying can happen, your day will most likely be a lot less eventful, so relax and seek support from friends and family. If you or your friends have older siblings who have already made the leap into high school, ask them for advice and suggestions. Remember, even the coolest seniors were freshman once, too. Before you know it, you’ll be navigating the halls like a pro.

Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more.