Leaving primary school and beginning secondary is a really exciting time in a young person’s life, but it can also be an uncertain, confusing time for many. Change is difficult and moving from one school to another is a big change in a person’s life. It is totally normal for students and parents to feel worried about the move, but it is important to try and do what you can to keep these anxieties to a minimum.
To help you do this, we have compiled a list of practical tips and advice to ensure you are well equipped with the tools to make the process easier.
Reach out to older brothers, sisters, cousins or friends in the community who are in or finished secondary school. These people have been in your shoes so can give you practical support and advice about what they found helped them. Ask them lots of questions and get their perspective.
If you are the first in your family to begin school, you can find lots of accounts online that detail first hand experiences such as on the BBC where students share what they wish they knew before starting secondary school. Read it here
Prepare yourself by making sure you are as organised as possible and understand what is going to be expected of you. Practicing your route is a practical way to help you feel more confident about your first day. If you have concerns about ordering your lunch at the canteen in school, visit a café over the break and order and pay for your own food and drink. Once you have done these things once they will be much easier.
Ensure you have everything you need ahead of your first day; books, stationery and anything else you may need for your classes. Have your uniform ready and get a good night’s sleep before your first day. Look at the school’s website or handbook to ensure you have all the necessary equipment.
It may seem like everyone has made the best of friends and that you are left behind, but you are not alone. It’s important to keep your head up and give it time. It may not be as easy for you as others to make friends, but you will get there. Everyone else might seem like they are managing this time fantastically, but you don’t know the full story, they could be really struggling. Keep an open mind, put yourself out there, stay positive, ask questions and spend time with as many new people as possible. Try out new things such as different after-school activities that may help you meet likeminded people.
Don’t suffer in silence. Help is available should you need to speak to someone about any issues that may arise. Support is always available, school counsellors and teachers are there to help if you are having a hard time. Don’t be afraid to avail of these services, you don’t have to do this alone.
Enjoy this time as best you can. This is perhaps the first big step in gaining your own independence. Although it may be a very challenging time, try to focus on what you do enjoy about your new situation and remember that with time, it will get easier.