What Any Student Entering 9th Grade Should Know
Jumping into a new environment like high school can be scary. Even the most level-headed students may feel nervous their first day, and that is completely normal! This blog post will touch upon 10 things any student entering 9th grade should know.
1. Pick courses that interest you, not the ones that interest your friends.
Having classes with a familiar face is always awesome, but the courses you as a student get to choose your first year of high school are very limited. Picking those couple electives may seem nerve-racking, but it is a decision that needs to be made individually, or with a parent/guardian. Getting stuck in a class you may not enjoy without your friends typically does not end well. Both your mark and enjoyment within said class may decrease, so choosing what you genuinely enjoy is important!
With the phasing out of streams (academic/applied) beginning in certain areas of Ontario it may become more likely to have a class with someone you know! Do not stress about finding your old friends and meeting new ones! (Covered more in points 3 and 4).
2. You might get lost… and that’s normal!
High Schools are typically much larger than elementary schools. Do not stress about getting lost the first day. Almost every 9th grader is in the same boat you are! Most teachers are not worried if you are a minute late the first day, especially if you have never seen the school before. Just don’t make being late a habit.
The quickest fix for this is taking a tour before school starts. If a tour is not available, for any reason, I suggest walking around the halls during a lunch break, remembering where the rooms you have classes are located, and how to get from those rooms to your locker. (Many schools offer maps as well, for personal use).
3. You will meet new friends… and that is totally okay!
High school is filled with people you have never met before. Simply sitting next to someone you do not know in a class can lead to a new blossoming friendship! Do not be scared to put yourself out there. In doing this, other students may feel more comfortable around you, creating familiar faces in classes to come.
There are also many other ways to meet friends in school, like joining a club or team. (Covered more in point 5).
4. You might lose touch with old friends… and that’s also okay!
Losing touch with friends can be common; do not stress out if you aren’t finding your “people” right away. Transitions such as going from elementary to high school or high school to university/college are intimidating, but also a time of change. Sometimes it’s a natural parting - you do not have to dislike them. You just may not be as close. This happens to many people. Friends come and go throughout your entire high school career making it hard to find a close group of friends sometimes; putting yourself out there almost always helps with this process!
5. Join a club or play a sport.
Joining a club or playing on a sports team is a quick and easy way to find people you have something in common with. It can feel unnatural when you first join, especially if your elementary school did not have as many clubs or teams, but you get used to it quickly. Unlike courses, joining a club in a new field you may find interesting, at first, can be easy to back out of if you feel as though it is not for you.
Do not feel pressure to join clubs your first year of high school if you are nervous, many clubs are flexible and willing to let students join in grades 10-12 too!
6. Teachers are there to help you.
Teachers almost always have your best interest in mind. If you are finding something hard to understand, ask them! That is what they are there for after all. If you are struggling with things outside of school many teachers are willing to help get the proper assistance needed in solving said issue. Usually the teacher would direct you to the guidance office, though I personally have never heard of a teacher turning a student away when they need to talk about something a little more personal.
If you are having more serious issues there are usually many resources to be found spread out around your guidance office, as well as online through your home school’s website, or your school boards website as well!
7. What interests you now may not interest you in 4 years… and that’s okay too!
High school is a time of growth and development, something that interests you now may be a memory by 12th grade. Having an idea of what you want to do in life is always good, but there is a whole class dedicated to jobs in 10th grade called career studies. You do not have to know what you want to spend your life trying to achieve immediately after exiting 8th grade, and you should not be expected to.
That being said, parts of the next generation are forming within the walls of your high school. Many people know what they want to do at the beginning of high school and many do not. Just remember, people will change throughout these next 4 years, including yourself. Do not let your past define your current self, especially if the past makes you unhappy.
8. You do not have to succumb to peer pressure.
Peer pressure takes many forms. If you are uncomfortable in any situation you can say “no” and, or, leave. Though I, personally, have not dealt with the stereotypical form of peer pressure; the, “Oh come on! Everyone does it, it’s harmless.” type of pressure, I have seen it take shape in other ways. Many people are respectful of your reason to say no, though not every person is the same. If you think you are being pressured after saying “no” to whatever may be offered or asked of you to do, do not feel awkward or like you are the “downer” of the group for refusing. Most of your peers will get over it and rarely think about what happened after the situation has ended.
9. Marks do not define your worth.
You may find some of your classes tough, and that is okay. It is all part of the learning experience. Receiving one bad mark in a class, or even as a final average, will likely not hurt you throughout your high school career. Many teachers allow retakes and even offer extra credit to get your mark up to where you feel it should be, if you do not feel satisfied after receiving a midterm update or mark book report.
At the end of the day, you can only do so much, if you feel as though there is just not enough time in the day to get something done, do not lose sleep over it. (A good night’s sleep is very important!). Many teachers are very willing to give an extension, provided with a solid reason for one.
10. It’s not always like the movies… Do I have to say it this time?
Though you likely already know this one, high school isn’t always as cliché as it may be depicted in certain movies and tv shows. High school is what you make of it though, so use your 4 years wisely. They go by much faster than you would expect them to.
Have a good first year of high school. Don’t forget to have fun!