Top tips for starting secondary school!
Are you going into year 7 this September? Do you worry about being in a big school, making friends and how your caring responsibilities will affect school work. You might also be excited and looking forward to the change. Starting a new school year might be the start of a new chapter for you and you can’t wait to begin. In amongst all of the excitement, it’s totally normal to feel worried too.
Young carers transitioning to high school in September got together for a day to share worries, fears and expectations. We know change is difficult for many of you, especially as young carers. North Tyneside Carers’ Centre is here to support you every step of the way as you start your new school, make news friends and discover more that you love! We’ve developed some top tips to see you through into September and beyond;
It’s completely normal to feel worried or anxious
Eleven year olds up and down the country are going through exactly what you are feeling right now, leaving primary school and sometimes the friends you made there is tough. Change is difficult, you are moving to another school away from everything you knew in primary, and a lot of this will be unknown to you. It’s important to remember that the emotions you feel right now are okay and valid. It’s okay to feel sad or even scared about walking though those school gates in September, but it’s also important to remember to tell an adult you trust so they can support you.
Talk to your friends about how you’re feeling. You are not alone!
All of your friends will be feeling just as worried or scared about this big change as you! When we are consumed in our thoughts it’s easy to believe that you are the only person in the world feeling these things. Chat to your mates about ways they’re dealing with the change, you could learn from each other! Chatting to someone who understands your situation is often the first important step.
If you walk or bus it to school, practice the route beforehand so you are an expert on the your first day.
Planning is a great way to ease those first day nerves. If you feel prepared, there will be less to worry about on the day. Why not ask someone to walk with you the route you’d take to school? Can you practice this with a friend? You might also want to talk through what will happen on your first day with an adult.
Tell an adult or someone at carers centre about your anxieties and worries
If your worries are really affecting you or you struggle to sleep at night, it’s always important to talk it through with an adult. Talking things through can really feel like a weight has lifted! You can talk to an adult you live, or a member of staff on the young carers team at the Carers’ Centre. We are always here to listen!
Write it down! Or draw it!
Writing or getting creative can be a great way to work through how we’re feeling about big changes in our lives. The young carers transition group enjoyed getting creative to make their worries feel smaller, and also writing down what they feel “mad, sad or glad” about starting secondary school. Try writing down or drawing how you are feeling. It could be a positive emotion too. You could feel happy or excited. It’s totally normal to experience mixed emotions when we go though big changes in our lives.
Pack your bag the night before your first day so you feel really prepared!
Another top tip for those who like to feel organised, packing your bag the night before can help to relieve some of that last minute panic on the morning of that first day at school. There nothing quite like rushing around trying to find that perfect ruler before realising it’s hidden in your little sister’s shoe, just as you should have your shoes on and be heading out the door. Having your bag packed and ready to go will really make you feel like an organisation whizz!
Take your time
Life really isn’t a race, everyone deals with things at their own pace. If you need longer to adjust to life at secondary school than Sally in your form class, that’s more than okay. Take the time you need. Those of you who take the scenic route will always get better views!
Ask if you don’t know
Teachers and older students at your new school will be used to year 7’s asking questions, getting lost or not knowing how something works. Ask if you’re not sure and someone will be happy to help you. There’s a lot to navigate, but also get excited about too. We bet you can’t wait to start using Bunsen burners in science!
And finally good luck! Let us know how your first few weeks go.