Starting a new school is scary and exciting along with many other emotions. Starting Year 7 is no exception and it can be hard to know what to expect, especially if you don’t have any older siblings or older friends to tell you all about it. Secondary school (or you may call it high school) is a massive step up from primary school. Normally, everything will be so much bigger than in a primary school, from the building itself to the students (in both amount and size) to even what you have to learn. It can be overwhelming.
If you are going into Year 7 (or even if you are in Year 7 now and are feeling a bit lost) then you should definitely continue reading for these 35 skills for surviving secondary school. I hope you find them useful.
1. Calm Down
Starting secondary school can be scary, exciting and generally overwhelming but stressing out about it isn’t going to help you at all. The first thing you need to do when it all feels a bit too much is to calm down. You can do this by trying some breathing exercises, meditating, mindfulness or simply by distracting yourself and doing something you enjoy. Check out this article for some relaxation skills for teens that you may want to try.
2. Make a Good First Impression
First impressions are everything, especially in secondary school as it is a completely new environment. Whether it is your classmates (and potential friends) or your new teachers, making a great first impression can go a long way. Making a good first impression may also give you a chance to present you at your best and help you and meet new people and maybe even make some new friends.
Making a good first impression can be difficult and you may find yourself feeling unsure about how to even go this. I suggest that you start with a smile and go from there. Smiles can make you seem more approachable and can make the people around you feel more comfortable.
3. Be Confident (But Not Overconfident)
As they say, confidence is key. Having a high self-esteem and being confident are great ways to start Year 7. Confidence is when you feel sure of yourself and your abilities, so, if you start out feeling this way then you have a great foundation for the rest of your school life. You may want to look at this article about 6 Ways to Instantly Feel Better About Yourself.
The only problem with confidence is that it can lead to overconfidence and arrogance. Overconfidence and arrogance aren’t good qualities, they often make you come off as being rude, regardless of whether or not you were trying to be. They can also make others feel uncomfortable around you and may even make it harder for you to make friends in Year 7.
4. Be Open to Change
As I am sure you know, Year 7 can be overwhelming, especially as they tend to be a lot bigger than primary school. There is definitely going to be a lot of differences between your secondary school and primary school, being open to change can help you prepare for this. Being open to change can help you to not be overwhelmed by everything, especially in your first week. Also, keeping an open mind can help you to accept the differences between you and the people around you more easily.
5. Ask For Help When You Need It
Asking for help can be really difficult for some people and really easy for others. Whichever category you fall into, it is important that you ask for help if you need it. Trying to be independent is one thing but if there is something that you really can’t do by yourself then you should definitely ask someone. This someone can be a teacher, one of your classmates or even one of your friends.
6. Be Kind
Being kind is a great thing to do, especially in Year 7, as it can help to give others a better impression of you and help you to meet new people and make some new friends. Being kind is wonderful as you are helping other and making them feel good, which can also help to make you feel good. There is even evidence to show that being kind is good for your health click this link here to find out more.
7. Be Yourself
Changing yourself to fit in is never a good idea. It can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing and generally leave you feeling drained by the end of each day. Along with the other challenges of Year 7, it’s not worth it. Plus, “fitting in” is overrated.
8. Choose Your Friends Wisely
A good friend will never force you to change yourself just to be with them. A good friend will also be trustworthy, dependable and have other distinct qualities, such as the ones suggested in this article – The 13 Essential Qualities of Good Friends.
You should also be wary of toxic or fake friends. If you find that the friends you already have are have just made aren’t really there for you or they aren’t very nice to you or even that they want you to change yourself just for them, you may have a toxic friendship. This article will give you 5 Fake Friend Signs to Look Out For.
9. Listen in Class
In Year 7, you begin to learn things that will shape your entire secondary school education. Listening in class is the least you can do to give yourself a good start and save your future self from having to do an awful lot of catch-up work later on during secondary school.
10. Do The Work
It’s all well and good listening in class but if you aren’t taking down the notes you need or doing whatever else your teacher tells you to then it is virtually useless. Doing the work is important because it is how you learn and retain the information you are taught.
Also, some teachers may ask to see how much work you have done or simply take in your books to mark the work that you are supposed to do in class. If you haven’t done the work and haven’t even taken down any notes, your teacher can see this and you will most likely get into trouble.
11. Get Organised
In secondary school, you are generally required to have and prepare everything yourself. From your pens to your highlighters, you need to bring all of your useful stationary into school every day. You need to make sure you have everything packed and ready so that you can make the most out of school. At the very least, make sure you bring your books and a pen to each lesson, so that you don’t get into trouble.
12. Do Your Homework
Part of being organised is doing your homework. This is a staple point in secondary school life that you are just going to have to get used to. It is best to do it as quickly as possible so that you don’t forget about it. Not doing your homework can even result in detentions and calls home to your parents/guardians.
13. Learn Your Way Around School
This will 100% make your life easier, I promise you. Knowing your way around school can help you avoid embarrassing moments like getting lost and save you from the consequences of being late.
14. Don’t Be Late
Whether this is in the morning or to each individual class, being late doesn’t look good on you and it can even result in you getting detentions or calls home to your parents or guardians. Being late can also disrupt your learning as you may end up missing notes and end up having quite a bit to catch up on.
15. Memorise Your Timetable
Knowing your timetable can save you from making some rather awkward mistakes. I remember once when I was in Year 7, I went to the wrong class and had the embarrassing situation of sitting beside a bunch of Year 10s for about 5 minutes. Please learn from my mistakes and memorise your timetable.
16. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
At your age, it is recommended that you get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night. This is especially crucial on school nights because if you don’t get enough sleep then you won’t be able to learn properly at school and it may even make the school day feel pretty unbearable.
17. Wear The Right Uniform
Uniforms are compulsory in most secondary schools in the UK. Whether or not you think it should be, you need to wear it. If you don’t have a uniform, then you have to stick to whatever guidelines your school has given you.
This is important mainly because it will stop your teachers from nagging you every day about it. You may feel that this is a mild problem now but after a while, you will understand how annoying this can be. Plus, not wearing uniform can also result in detentions and calls home to your parents or guardians.
18. Make Sure Your Bag is The Right Size
This tip may seem a bit random but honestly it is needed. When choosing a bag, you need to think about your own size and how much you need to carry. You don’t need a rucksack that is half the size of you but a handbag that you can barely fit your lunch into is going to cut it either. Make sure that you pick a bag that can fit all of your books and everything else you need for the school day, without being over-the-top.
19. Stay Out of Trouble
Some of the things I have already mentioned is a part of this. Staying out of trouble will definitely save you a lot of time and hassle as you can avoid detentions and having your parents being called.
20. Talk to New People
Starting the year is a great time to make friends but also to simply find people that you can talk to in class (or not depending on how strict your teachers are). Talking to new people can also help you to build up your confidence and get a little bit more comfortable at school.
21. Don’t Get Involved
At secondary school, there will undoubtedly be some kind of drama. From fights to bullying to general gossiping. Getting involved in these are bound to get you in trouble and they are just not good things to do. Gossiping may seem mild but how would you feel if someone was talking about you behind your back. Bullying is even worse
I’m not telling you to be a bystander. If you see bullying happening to someone, or even experience it yourself, then you should report it. You don’t have to report it publicly (it’s probably best if you don’t) but you can get your parents to phone/ email the school or even do this yourself.
22. Plan Ahead
Learning this skill can save you an awful lot of time and it can even help you to avoid those irritating situations, such as when you forget your bus money (if you get the bus) or get a DT for forgetting to do your homework. Planning ahead is also a great way to keep on top of everything that you have to do. This can help you immensely, especially in Year 7, to stop you from being overwhelmed.
23. Don’t Try Too Hard
Secondary school is pretty different to anything that you’ve really experienced before, so it can be difficult to know how to act and what to do. But just remember that you don’t need to try too hard, doing your best is good enough.
24. Don’t Try to be Perfect
You don’t need to be perfect and having such high standards for yourself can be harmful. Instead, you should try to do the best you can in every part of your school life, especially in your school work and being kind to all of your schoolmates.
25. Learn From Your Mistakes
Making mistakes is just a part of life, there’s no point trying to be perfect. Learning from your mistakes is an incredibly useful skill that can help you to grow and develop without even realising it. When you learn from your mistakes, you should think about what you could have done differently but instead of dwelling on it, you should remember it for next time.
26. You Don’t Need to Grow up Instantly
Growing up is a long and slow process, something that takes an entire lifetime. In Year 7, you are exposed to a lot of older kids, who are at different stages of development to you. But please remember that you are only in Year 7, you don’t need to be at the same stage as they are, especially with things like relationships and maturity.
27. Have Fun
Depending on your experiences, Year 7 can be a wonderful time or it can be pretty brutal. So, try to have fun at every chance you get. Make some new friends and talk to your old ones to make everyday a little bit more enjoyable.
28. Keep in Touch
Did you have friends in primary school? If yes then keep reading this tip.
As we make new friends in secondary school, we can forget about our old friends. Try to keep in touch with them, especially if they go to a different secondary school. Staying in touch with your old friends can help make it easier for you to transfer into Year 7. Plus, why should you lose the friends you already have?
29. Join a Club
Many schools offer different clubs, these may be music clubs or even a sports clubs but there can be many others. Clubs are a great way to make friends with people that have similar interests to you, you may even be able to make friends in different years, that can give you some advice about starting secondary school.
30. Learn How to Release Stress
Stress is what you feel when you are overwhelmed. It is commonly felt when you have a lot of things going on at once or if there’s an important decision that you have to make. Watch this video to learn more about stress. In Year 7, you may feel stress due to the amount of work you have to do, especially as it will all be new to you, but there may be other reasons for stress as well.
It is normal to feel a little stressed sometimes but if you are constantly feeling stressed, please talk to someone about it. You need to know how to relieve that stress. Relieving stress can be very different for everyone, someone may like to go workout at gym while someone else may like to do some colouring. You may need to think long and hard about the things you like to help you relieve stress, here are some extra tips.
31. Talk About Your Day (or Write it Down)
Talking or writing about your day can help to stop you from being overwhelmed by it all. You may want to tell your parents or guardians or you can write it down in a journal. Talking is especially helpful because whoever you are talking to may be able to help you to solve any problems that you have or just give you some kind words. But writing it down also has its own benefits of helping you to process what has happened in the day and prepare you for the next.
32. Find Something You Enjoy
Finding something you enjoy can help to make your school life more bearable and even a little bit more colourful, too. Having a hobby or a specific interest can also be a great way to let off some steam, especially after a hard day at school. You can even join a club with your hobby or interest, this can be in or out of school.
The thing that you enjoy may be anything, from literature to dancing to improv. Check out this article of 50 Great Hobbies For Teens for some ideas.
33. Make Sure You Aren’t Falling Behind
If you are struggling at school, then you should tell your parents or guardians as they may be able to help. You could also ask your teachers to help you understand the work and to give you some guidance on what you need to do to catch up to where you need to be. You could also get a private tutor to help you make sure that you know everything that you need to.
Alternatively, you could do it on your own. Try to find the specific areas that you are struggling with and look up how to do them (if you don’t have access to the internet, you may even be able to look it up in books). A great online resource is BBC Bitesize as it can give you some useful guides to help you revise the topics that you need to know.
34. Read at Home
Reading at home can build up your reading skills. This is really helpful as you will be expected to read often in secondary school, especially when studying English. Reading at home is quite a vague tip, as it can be anything, including reading subtitles on a TV. But to get the most out of it, I suggest you try to read books and newspaper articles.
There are studies showing that kids who read at home are smarter and can build up better vocabulary. Click here to find out more. When starting secondary school, this can help you a lot as it can help you learn new vocabulary, that you may be expected to know and use in any of your subjects at school.
35. Empower Yourself
Empowering yourself is a great way to motivate yourself every day and to live a happier and healthier life. Empowering yourself is also a great way to build up your self-esteem. Having a high self-esteem is important for you to feel secure and good about yourself and generally being able to live well. This article here discusses the power of a high self-esteem.