I realised today with the help of Facebook Memories that it has been four years since I had my last first day of school. I was going into year twelve for my last year of schooling have done most of the previous year from my bed. I was not a big fan of school, mostly because of the subjects I chose (and the whole having to be around people thing was not great either.) These days I love learning and studying and educating myself on topics that I truly love, but it took getting through my high school years to get to this point.
So, I've written a letter t all the kids going back to school tomorrow or the next day, of whenever you return, whether your going into year eight or twelve or anywhere in between- I hope you can find some sort of lessons from someone who had done it all recently enough to still remember it.
- I've never had the whole "first day at a new school" thing, I was lucky enough to go to one school for my whole schooling time. But God I cam imagine how much of a wreck I would have been should I have to leave the familiarity of my old school. My best advice for dealing with a new situation (and I am going to have to remember this one myself as I go to events and such alone this yer to push myself out of my comfort zone) is that you just have to with people, fake it until you make it. in year 11 I was put in a situation where I was I went to a WACE prep course at a Uni in the city, for a week, where I knew no one. I was staying on campus and I had to fake confidence until I found a group of people to hang around with. On the first day we arrived we had to go to the dinner hall but I had no one to go with and no one to sit with, I was convinced that I was just going to go hungry the night. In the end I waited for the next person to walk into the dorm and I got up told myself I was going to fake some confidence and made conversation with her. She ended up being the girl I spent the entire week with, all because I faked some confidence.
- If you are struggling with something- get help. God, I was the worst for this, I would nod my head and pretend that yep Ive got it all under control, when in reality I was struggling and I didn't want people to know I was struggling, or to seem "uncool" for asking for extra help. It wasn't until year eleven and twelve when I knew that I actually had to understand the stuff I was struggling with that I asked for that help- with probably every subject except English and business (because I got those), and Human Bio (because I had a weird thing about the teacher and preferred to not talk to him more than I had too.) I didn't understand human bio at all, so I googled it, I brought extra books on iBooks (seriously my biggest recommendation if you want extra resources!!!).
- No exam or test is worth putting your mental health at stake. I was under the impression that once an exam or test was set that was it, you had to do- if you skipped school they would hunt you down (not literally, they just make you take it the next time you rock up. If you find that your mental health is declining because of the pressure of a test or an exam, you need to tell someone. I worked myself into such a state (worse than I already was at that time) over the final WACE exams, that I had to pull out. I was in rapid decline and at the end of the day what is more important a score or your mental health?
- Check in on the people around you. I was never one to have a big group of friends, but we had a classroom that was filled with a select few of us doing our final years via distance education. At times, we didn't get along- seriously at all, but I think we all knew that if one of us was struggling someone else in the room would notice, thats what happens when you spend six hours a day in a room with someone. You need to check in on your friends every now and again, especially at those times when everything is just up in the air and everyone is studying profusely and stressed as hell. Check in, have some relax time.
- If it's your first day of high school: know that not much really changes. When I was in school year eight was the first year of high school, but now, according to my sisters- its year seven. Which means you're going in a new situation even earlier, and I get that it could be scary. Going from primary school to high school, basically all that changes is your teachers, your classrooms and where you sit for lunch. You still have the same people around you (unless you've moved schools or whatever), the work doesn't get 200% harder just because you've gone up. It really isn't that scary.
- While being popular and having ALLLLLL the friends seems like the most important thing in the world, it really isn't. I fell into that trap and I seriously think it was a factor into one of the darkest periods of my life. If you have one or two good friends- you're set. if you have none, well hey! Welcome to my club. High school and the whole culture around it feels like the most important thing in the world when you are in it, once you leave you look back and and raise your eyebrows with a giggle- I still do.
- To tie in with the last one- you don't have to change yourself to fit in. Eventually you will know that people will accept you for who you are, you won't feel the need to act less smart than you really are because the smart kids get made fun of, or dye your hair because your brunette and all the other are blonde. You won't think you have to wear different clothes to what you feel comfortable in, or pretend you don't like sport because everyone else is afraid of getting sweaty. You will realise that you are unique and no one else is you- so you don't have to try and be them.
- Lastly, this is more for the ones that were in the same boat as me in high school: you were depressed, you didn't feel like you fit in, you didn't want to be around people, you felt totally isolated and out of your depth: have hope. Have hope that once you get out the other side things will be better. Have hope that you can be a better person than the people making you feel as if you aren't one. Have hope that you will work hard enough to get where you want too in life. Without hope, what do we have?
Happy first day of school high schoolers x