10 Things Teens Should Know Before High School

10 things teens should know before high school 

1) Everyone is nervous going to high school- everyone!  Don’t think you are the only one freaking out, because you aren’t.  Some people are just better at hiding it.  You are not alone, so remember that. 

2) Take a chance early on… that way taking addition risks later won’t seem so big. It’s kind of like jumping into a cold pool. It’s a bit scary, but once it’s over, you like it and wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.  You will comfortably take more chances after that. 

3) The longer you wait to do something…the harder it is to do. Procrastination is not your friend. It will hold you back from amazing opportunities, experiences, conversations, people, etc.  Don’t let it! 

4) Talk to your parents.. don’t drift away.  Some teens get distant from their parents in HS.  However, trust me, this is the time that you really need them.  Find time to talk with them every day, even if only for a few minutes. 

5) Get involved in HS- it goes by fast. It’s easier to stay involved in high school activities if you get involved freshman year. So, join a sport, student council, theatre or the newspaper right away.  You will thank me.  

6) Pick friends that have your back. It’s ok to walk away from unhealthy people you knew in middle school. Chances are your high school class will be pretty big compared to your 8th grade class. Meet everyone and make new friends based on shared interests, likes and values. 

7)  Every day is a new opportunity to re-invent yourself. This is a perfect time. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing! Don’t let others define you. Find new interests, change your attitude and explore new things. 

8) Clothes, electronics, make-up and music don’t make you cool. Confidence trumps all those things.  Drop the labels, products and latest apps. These things don’t make you interesting or likable. Show people who you are, have an opinion and make decisions for yourself.  People will respect you and your confidence. 

9) Stay away from drama- don’t get involved.  High school drama is the worst and it’s everywhere. Don’t gossip- it will come back to bite you.  Don’t tweet, post, say or share inappropriate things. You will be labeled very quickly as a mean girl/a gossip and this label can be hard to shake. 

10) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.  If you stand up for yourself, say no, or walk away from the first bad situation freshman year, people will take notice. That way peer pressure will not follow you for the next 3 years. Instead, you will attract like minded friends. 

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Not Ready for College this Fall? Start in Spring.

Many students don’t think about deferring college till spring because the concept is foreign to them. Since they were 4 or 5 years old, school always starts in September. So it’s more about habit than anything else. They also feel that they are “behind” their other classmates and high school friends if starting in spring.  Once you are on campus, no one knows or cares when you started.  However, there are many benefits to starting college in the spring term instead of fall if needed.

If you just aren’t ready for college, then wait.  Going to college before you are ready can cause a lot of issues once on campus such as lack of focus, poor grades, premature dropping out and changing of majors many times over.  If needed, take some time to think about your future and your career in a “constructive”  way that fall.  One of the benefits of a spring start is that you are competing with fewer students for those required first semester classes and therefore, you are more likely to get them.  Also, your orientation is smaller and you get much more personalized attention from staff and faculty about living on campus and choosing classes. If you feel that your credits are dragging, take a few summer classes to make up for the spring start.  As I said, take advantage of the fall term when everyone else is away at school (September though December) in a constructive way by interning, working and/or meeting with professional in your desired field to make sure it’s the right fit for you.  Then you can start in spring more confident about your choices.  High school to college is a very big switch and some teens are better with change than others.  Taking a semester off isn’t a cop-out, it’s a small choice for some families and students.

What Mean Girls Really Think: Confessions of a HS Bully

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Self-esteem means self-respect. Self-acceptance. Um…self-confidence. Knowing yourself. Knowing your weaknesses and your strengths and striving to manipulate them to serve you best.

Presenting an image is important. Like big time. You portray this image to the world of what you WANT to be. The image that you put out to everyone else is what you ASPIRE to become, not necessarily what you already are.

My mom pushes me hard to be the best. She’s like a total Asian tiger mom. I love her but it’s stressful sometimes. I have high expectations for myself too. I think I should be good at everything. Like I’m not the best at math but I would never admit to that. You wouldn’t hear me talking about how I had a math tutor and stuff. Since I wanted all As and I’m kind of dumb at precalc, I dropped it and went to the easy math. Now I’m one of the best in that class. I’ve maintained that image of perfection.

Me and my friends all have high expectations of each other as well. They’re tough on me and I’m tough on them. Like I’ll ask a girl, “Are you really going to where that to my party?” ‘Cause I don’t want her to give me and my friends a bad name. Or if a girl is slutting around, we let her know. We’re not exactly nice about it. We’re like, “You’re acting like a desperate hoe, so stop. Otherwise you’re not hanging out with us.” We gang up on her, like five on one.

We totally have each other’s back, just not in the nicest way.

Bullying IS real. It’s like the bitchy girl talking to the freshman, saying: “Why would you wear shorts ice skating? It’s cold in there.” And it’s true. Like, why would you? That’s what makes the bully so likeable. She’s totally honest. She’s not making it up; she’s just telling the truth and it’s funny.

I was given a hard time when I was a freshman too. Like every freshman, I was totally retarded. But I learned from that good hazing not to be dumb, how to have street smarts, what to wear or not wear, how to coast through high school, stuff like that.

So if you’re a freshman girl making out with your boyfriend in front of the school, you’re going to get shit for that. That’s honestly unacceptable. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to get bullied for doing stupid stuff.

And if you’re one of the strange girls wearing strange clothes, you’re going to get shit for that too. Like, the one who walked out of the locker room to go to a concert wearing a black tulle tutu thing. I mean, come on. A black tutu?

And me and my friends were like: That outfit is offensive. You need to change.

And she was like: Assholes.

And we were like: No. We have your back. If you walked down the street like this it’d be bad.

Don’t get me wrong, even the weird girls are perfectly nice. We just don’t hang out with them. You’ll often hear me and my girlfriends say that we don’t hang out with ugly people either, which is a really mean thing to say when you think about it. Like that’s a REALLY mean thing to say. But it’s kinda true. I don’t spend a lot of time with people who are, um…yeah. Ugly. It’s not like I’m trying to be a total bitch about it. It’s just that’s not who I find myself with.

Some girls may try hard to be the better person, but when the doors close in the locker room, they’re still like, “What the hell? Did you see what she was wearing?”

Excerpt from my upcoming book: Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image.