Recently, Princeton Day School Student Council President George Ma shared with 5th-8th graders "10 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was In Middle School." These tips from a conscientious 12th grader can help any student about to enter Middle School, and their parents, too!
1. Get some sleep. "I know at this time you all think either, 'OMG I have so much work,' or 'I'm gonna stay up 'cause it's kinda cool.' Well, in high school, you actually do have a ton of work and activities to manage, and sometimes, we just wish we could go to sleep at 10. Also, while you may think staying up late is cool now, it won't be cool later when your friends are all getting taller than you because they're sleeping more than you!"
2. Create good habits now. "I know grades aren't as important right now as they are in college. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean do not try on your classes now. What I am trying to say is that the grade does not matter as much as the study habits you can build and the mistakes you can learn from now that will help you later. Simply put, procrastinating is a big no-no, and developing a good working ethic now goes a long way."
3. Try new things such as sports or instruments. "If you do not like it then just drop it later, but what if you really like it? There are so many sports, clubs and activities in Middle School at PDS. You can be really good at something new by the time you are in high school. Starting things in high school is harder because: (a) you don't have enough time and (b) because you feel like you're behind the others who started in Middle School."
4. Find a friend group you feel comfortable in. "PDS is a community where people believe in being themselves rather than trying to be somebody else. I know it is hard not to factor in popularity sometimes, but at the end of the day, friends that let you be you and are always supportive will lead you to a better Middle School experience."
5. Try not to let small things get to you. "If you're focusing on what is bothering you, you are going to miss the good things in the moment. There are a ton of good things in the moment, so cherish them all."
6. Have fun! "Make memories. I swear time flies by way too fast! It's so hard to believe this is my last year of school before college."
7. Really important one to the 7th and 8th graders: enjoy the PDS Middle School dances. "Get out of your comfort zone. Meet new people. Ask someone random to dance!"
8. If you are having a problem, struggling, or in need of a good conversation, do not be afraid to reach out to a teacher. "I've talked with many of the teachers in the Middle School, and all the teachers here are pretty awesome and supportive. Trust me, they want to see you succeed."
9. Be nice to people. "I don't mean be nice to just your friends; I mean be nice to everyone. I know this sounds like something everyone should know. You never know who is having a hard day, and maybe your compliment or nice gesture, whether you know it, may go a long way."
10. The last one, and this honestly can make or break your entire experience: try to look at everything positively. "Sure, sometimes things do not go your way, but remember that there would be no highs if there were never any lows. If everything was constantly going your way, your life would just be flat and the highs wouldn't feel so nice."
The Middle School Open House on Tuesday, November 12 from 8:30-10:30 is a great, low-stress way for parents to explore the fantastic 5th-8th Grade program, extracurricular opportunities, and community at Princeton Day School. Register today!