Survival Guide to Starting Secondary
Starting high school for the first time this year? Worried about finding your way around a bigger building, making new friends and the extra workload? Here’s Meic’s survival guide to secondary school.
This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
1. You’re not alone
Thousands of other young people across Wales are in the same position as you. Lots of you are feeling nervous, anxious, worried, excited, and all kinds of other feelings! You can be sure that most of the other children moving up to your class will feel the same way, worse maybe, and that’s ok. It’s natural to feel nervous. This is one of the biggest events that happens in your life.
2. Help is out there
The school and teachers know this is a big thing for you, and most schools have lots of support and help available to new Year 7 pupils. You’ll have a form tutor with whom you will register twice daily. They can help with any questions or worries you may have. You’ll also have a head of year, learning mentors, counsellors or wellbeing officers that you can talk to. Older pupils might be there to guide you around and help you settle in too. Take the time to ask them any questions or tips.
Although you might get split up from your primary school friends, there’ll probably be some other people from your school in your form. You might already know who will be in your form before you start, and you can choose to stick together in the first few days while you make new friends. Try not to worry too much about being split up. Try to feel excited about making new friends. You’ll see your primary school friends during breaks, so don’t worry.
4. Making new friends
Some people find it easier than others to make new friends, especially if you’re shy. It might help you to remember that you’re all in the same situation and everybody wants to make new friends. Introduce yourself to a different classmate each day. Think of some questions you could ask to find out more about them. This will help you to find things in common. Try not to focus on making friends with one person as this could make things hard for you if they are off school sick. Making several friends will give you more support and will broaden your interests too. Just be yourself and remember you’re all in the same situation and trying to make new friends.
You’ll get a timetable with all your lessons, who the teacher is and the number of the classroom. The teachers know it takes time to get familiar with a new school and will probably be a little more lenient if you’re struggling to find where you’re meant to be. It’ll probably take you a week or two to get used to changing from one lesson to the next and finding out where you’re going. Just ask a teacher or older pupil if you’re unsure where you’re going.
6. Coping with homework
You’ll probably find a huge difference in the amount of work you get in secondary compared to primary. The amount of homework might be overwhelming at first. Rather than get one piece of homework as you did in primary, you might get homework for several subjects in one day.
The key is being organised. Set a time and place to do homework, like after school or in the early evening. Do it when the lesson is still fresh in your mind, and don’t let things pile up so you’re overwhelmed with how much you must do. Keep on top of it. If you don’t understand the homework, then ask the teacher – it’s better to ask than to not hand anything in when it’s time. If things get too much and you feel you can’t cope, talk to your parents, form tutor or teacher. They might be able to help you find ways of coping.
Many young people worry about bullying when moving up to secondary. All schools have an anti-bullying policy and want to stop bullying before things get out of hand. Check out their website to see their bullying policy. If you can’t find it, then ask the school. Speaking out and telling someone is the important first step when it comes to bullying. If you’re struggling to get someone to listen, check out our 6 Steps To Take If You’re Being Bullied blog.
If you’re struggling to tell someone that you’re being bullied, Meic can support you with this. We will listen, talk you through your options and can even help you talk to your school. Contact us free between 8am and midnight any day on the phone, text, or online chat.
Good luck to you at secondary school from all of us here at Meic. You’ve got this! 💪🏽🙌🏾👌