Some Things You Should Always Do (In Middle School)
Pretty soon I'll be leaving on a jet plane (more like heading up the hill) to the high school. Sure, I'm excited for high school, but I couldn't forget about the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders of next school year who I'll be missing a whole lot. The least I could do is share with you some of the things that have worked for me and others I wish I'd known when I wasn't at the end of junior high. These are some things of which I am completely sure will help you out in the next year or two. Consider it a parting gift, since I can't exactly buy hundreds of more impressive presents (though I swear, I would if I could).
1. Start respectful and stay respectful.
This is one about your teachers, your friends, and everybody else in your school life. You will likely love many of the people you meet here, but others, well, not so much. Let this change absolutely nothing about your attitude towards them. Respect is not optional at all, but in order to practice it, it's important for you to understand it first. There's nothing complicated about it, really – respect is just a mixture of equal parts politeness, kindness, and common-sensical judgement. I promise it won't be terribly easy to keep it up at all times, but trying to with all the right intentions will save you an unimaginable amount of grief.
2. Don't just resolve to bring a pencil wherever you go – actually do it.
Obviously, it'd be nice if you brought everything else you needed at all times as well as a pencil, but the “Excuse me Mr./Mrs. _____, may I borrow a pencil” bit gets tiresome on both ends. Writing utensils are necessary for class just about one hundred percent of the
time without fail.
3. Put energy into completing assignments rather than stressing over them.
It might surprise you how easy it is to fret over a project instead of actually working on said project. Make sure to keep in mind that while it's healthy to be concerned about the work you do in school, you might just be in the way of your own productivity.
4. Learn to recognize questionable situations so you can do something about them.
I know you've heard a couple hundred times that bullying is unacceptable, but would you be able to call it out if you saw it happening? It's often tough to tell which situations are personal quarrels and which are abusive ones that are cause for intervention, so I've come up with a simple rule that might just work for you: Examine the situation. If you get an intuitive, gut feeling that you need to become involved in stopping something in any way, shape, or form, listen to it. This may not always lead you down the smoothest path, but it's better to look back in peace that you did something rather than regret that you didn't.
5. Laugh as much as you can.
Seriously, this is the most important piece of advice I could ever give you. Literally every day I watch the surliest, darkest, and saddest of people light up from head to toe with sunshine and grow purple flowers from their hair with a little bit of laughter. Okay, maybe it doesn't do all that, but if it can change your day, it can change your life.