By Rajini Coore
So you finished GSAT and got into highschool (hopefully the one of your choice) and with school starting next week it’s no surprise that you may be feeling both nervous and excited. As someone who’s about to enter their final year of highschool, I know exactly what it’s like to be in your position and so I’m here to give some helpful advice! Hopefully reading this will make your first year of highschool a lot easier. Enjoy!
Don’t write off people in your form class too soon. I made this mistake and didn’t realise that I had some awesome people in my form class until about third form (who are some of my best friends now). Talk to everyone and be nice to everyone. You never know what friendship could stem from a single conversation.
Interact with people who aren’t from the same prep/primary school as you. While it’s good to have a couple old friends, don’t isolate yourself from making new ones. This is kind of a continuation of tip 1, but don’t panic if none of your old friends are in your form class. However, if you’re shy it can help to join conversations with your old friends and like two new people at a time to ease yourself into it. Keep this up with different people and you should have at least 3 new potential friends by the second week.
Bring lunch on the first day (if you can). I know this can seem too juvenile but trust me, the cafeteria lines are absolutely ridiculous in the first week. Don’t waste your 35 minutes standing in a line and being pushed around by older kids, bring lunch and save time and money. You don’t even have to carry a specific lunch bag, you can put your lunch into your backpack if it has multiple pockets to avoid looking too childish.
Participate in class. You are writing your college recommendations as you step into first form so make an impression on your teachers. Ask questions, answer questions and just generally participate. Also make use of consultation periods if you’re not understanding something. Highschool teachers can be scary at first but remember they’re just people. Don’t be afraid to approach them, it shows initiative and helps you be a better student.
Do. Not. Miss. Club. Expo. If your school has an open day or exhibition day for all the clubs, don’t skip it. Go to as many booths as possible and bring extra money on that day. That way you can participate in all the activities the clubs have to offer and figure out what your interests may be. Starting a club early helps you figure out what you’re passionate about and that way you don’t have to scramble to meet extra curricular requirements later on.
Join as many clubs as possible in first form. This is your year of experimentation. Join anything that looks interesting and go to a different club every day for the first three weeks or so. After this you should have a decent idea of what you’re interested in so pick 2-3 and stick to those. It’s best to do a lot of clubs in lower school when you still have a lot of spare time. You’ll thank yourself later in upper school when CSEC time rolls around.
Get a durable backpack like a jansport. Don’t get one that’s massive but don’t get too small a backpack. Getting a quality bag like a jansport will ensure that you don’t have to worry about buying a new bag every year. It may seem like a lot to spend now but in the long run it pays off. The same applies for sports bags and gear like tennis rackets and hockey sticks.
However, don’t buy expensive shoes or sports clothing in first form. Chances are you’ll grow them out by second form and have to buy new things anyway. Until you stop growing buy shoes from Payless and non name brand PE gear to avoid overspending. Use the money you save to buy a good backpack.
Don’t feel insecure about your looks in first form. Trust me. You’re not supposed to be hot in first form 😂😂. If you feel like you’re awkward looking or ugly in first form, give it a few years. Everyone gets their glow up at some point. Until then, focus on developing your personality and interests and building solid friendships that make you happy. You have plenty of time for relationships in upper school so don’t stress if your crush doesn’t like you now. I can’t stress this enough but MAN/WOMAN IS NOT YOUR PRIORITY IN FIRST FORM!
Avoid clique drama. Honestly it’s usually bere foolishnesses that you’re better off without. Don’t allow it to affect you too much. Don’t medz gossip and rumors and make sure any you hear stop at you. Also, don’t talk about people behind their backs. That’s just rude and helps no one. Finally, don’t medz the hype kids. If you are in that group great, but if you’re not its no big deal. True friendship is more important than status and though their lives may seem perfect, a lot of hype kids have their own personal issues. Just be yourself and you will find your people. PS: being a loner is fine too. Just make sure you have someone to talk to if you are having problems with anything, it’s not good to keep your problems bottled up.
Don’t get too upset if your grades drop a bit from what you were used to. Highschool work is a lot different to grade 6 work and most people need time to adjust. However, don’t let this make you complacent or downtrodden. Keep working to attain your old standard and your success is assured. Healthy competition is good but don’t let it overwhelm you; class placement only matters if you’re first or last in the class. Your personal improvement is more important that your place in the class. Most importantly, believe in yourself and work hard. Getting into highschool is only the first step. Make sure the time you spend there is spent well.
That’s all the tips I have for you guys today. Hopefully you found this helpful. Have fun, work hard, make friends and have an amazing year!! 😁