To the girl who is apprehensive about the new school year.
I get it.
I remember the knot in my stomach when school wasn’t the fun and exciting place it was promised to be. I remember the night before school started, wondering whether my friends would be happy to see me or whether the workload would be harder than the previous year. I had my school uniform ironed and ready to go, my bag packed (with a new lunchbox and pencil case), but inside I just wished I could stay home!
One thing that makes school easier is having good relationships with people, teachers included. When our relationships are going well, everything in life is easier. Relationships can be our biggest challenge, so we have to be prepared to work at them, and learn new things to help us. That’s why I wrote this post. I want you to be ready to enjoy new people.
Some of these ideas might be helpful, others might not be. Regardless, I hope they give you a sense that there is someone in the world cheering you on; and believing that no matter what life throws at you, this could be your best year ever.
Thought 1: People Want to Like You
Too many people assume that other people don’t like them. Terrible assumption!!! People WANT to like you. Your job is to make it easy for them. Promise me that you will NEVER think that people won’t like you if you are different than they are. That’s simply not true. Being insecure is a far bigger turn off than being different. The trick to coping with differences is being able to have a good conversation with people who are nothing like you. You can like people and not have to be like them at all!
Thought 2: Stay in Character
Some days you are going to feel that you aren’t exciting enough, or popular enough or interesting enough. You will put a lot of pressure on yourself. Try and remind yourself that being “not enough” might actually be the greatest gift that you have. Being human makes you able to love and understand other people, and it makes it easy for people relate to you. The days that you feel like you need to change who you are the days you need to be you. Stay in character. The world needs you.
Thought 4: Pack Some Courage
School isn’t without its challenges. It isn’t for the fainthearted. You are specially designed to overcome challenges. You are built for hard stuff. That’s why you have the capacity to stretch a little without breaking. It helps me to remember that everything in life is temporary. Circumstances and emotions are like waves, they will come and go. Tomorrow can be totally different than today, so lean into life with some patience. You can do this!
Thought 3: Get a Trash Can
People (sometimes even our close friends) say stupid things. Sometimes people say REALLY stupid things! We all tend to hang onto the negative things that people say, even when it isn’t helpful or kind. The best way to deal with unneeded comments is to put them in the trash. Flip them off, quickly! Imagine a special bin in your heart for people’s crap…..and make sure it ALL goes in there. Every. Single. Word. This is harder than it sounds and might take a bit of practise.
Thought 4: Find Your Rocks
Many things around you will change but the caring adults in your life are like ‘rocks’ that will stay the same. They may be a bit boring, but you can rely on them to be there every day. That’s what they are best at. I hope you have some caring adults in the wings. If you feel your confidence wobbly, fall back into them till you catch your breath. I had some amazing adults in my life during my high school years. My parents were only two of the caring adults I turned to. I can remember teachers, sports coaches and youth leaders. They all were a massive help.
Thought 5: Say Lots of Hellos
I want you to say hello and be friends with as many people as possible. I see too many young people cling onto one person, and not mix with anyone else. You will need more than one friend in high school, so spread yourself around. At the very same time as making lots of friends, I want you to listen to your little internal voice and treat it like your best friend. Never exchange someone else’s opinion for your own.That little gut feeling compass inside of you that wants your attention.
RECOMMENDED READING: For more, check out Michelle’s book “Everyday Resilience: Helping Kids Handle Friendship Drama, Academic Pressure and the Self-doubt of Growing Up”.