10 Things I Wish I Knew Going into Middle School

Written by: Domenica Rose

1. It’s okay to be sad

Or happy. Or frustrated. Or angry. If my experience is any indication, you might feel any (or all) of these emotions on a daily basis. And don’t feel bad if your instinct is to take your pain out on those around you. But resist.

Find a coping technique that helps you to get through the tough feelings without adding regret for being hurtful. Music works for me. You can also try exercise or writing.

2. Teachers are people too

They (and you) will make mistakes. I promise. The more that you treat them like human beings the more likely it is that they will do the same in return.

3. Each part of you needs a friend

It is very rare to find a friend who you are compatible with on every level and even rarer to find this friend in middle school. It is okay to have a friend you like to sit with in math, a friend you like to play sports with, and a friend you like to go to the mall with.

4. Talk to people, not about them

This may seem hard, impossible at times, but talking about a friend behind their back will never end well. Even if you feel like you’re right and there’s a legitimate problem, talking to anyone but your friend will only make things worse. If you talk to your friend directly, you may be able to solve the problem and repair the friendship.

5. Focus less on what you want to happen and more on who you want to be

Don’t look to a specific outcome for your happiness, like I’ll be happy if I make A team or I’ll be happy if that boy likes me. If you do this, a) you will be disappointed if things don’t work out as you had originally planned, and b) you won’t know what to do next. Instead, picture who you want to be (happy, healthy, etc.), and do things that make you feel that way.

6. Play

Don’t sit out the game, because you’re afraid to look uncool. Grab a basketball. Grab a board game. I always feel a lot happier and connected with my friends when we’re DOING something together and not just hovering on the sidelines feeling awkward and pointing out how awkward everyone else is.

7. It takes two healthy people for a healthy relationship

Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and anything in between. A healthy relationship only happens between two healthy people. Period. Each of us has a lot of growing to do, and it won’t always be pretty, so know when to walk away from a friendship that’s not healthy for you. Sometimes the distance enables each person to focus on getting healthy, and then you can reconnect.

8. Avoid the straightener

Nothing good ever comes from applying a hot metal stick to your hair . . . trust me on this one.

9. Cut everyone some slack

We are all human. We are all growing. We will all make mistakes. We can try to fix these mistakes to the best of our abilities and to use the lessons to be better in the future. To make that work takes a lot of forgiveness, of yourself and others.

10. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes

Don’t write people off based on assumptions that you or others have made in the past. If you like them, and more importantly if you like who you are around them, you have the start of a healthy friendship.