Letter to my younger self
Dear Year 6 me,
Wow, I’m so old it wasn’t even called “Year 6” when I was there – I was a “4th-year junior”! I loved my primary school, my teachers, my friends and I didn’t want to leave. Worse than that, I really didn’t want to go to the secondary school where I had a place. First of all, it was huge. I would be leaving my primary school that had 300 children in total, and going to a new school where there would be 300 children in Year 7 alone. I hated the Year 7 uniform (believe it or not, the Year 7 girls had a different uniform to everyone else in the school, so they instantly stood out) and I had heard horror stories about older students being mean to younger ones and flushing their heads down the toilet. In short, I would have done ANYTHING to go somewhere else, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.
I was worried about getting lost. My new school was enormous. It had multiple buildings and what would happen if I couldn’t find my classroom and my new teachers got cross with me?
What about if none of my primary school friends were in my class? Who would I talk to?
What would happen if I didn’t understand things? Would I get into trouble? And what about homework? Would I get a lot? What if I found it too difficult and couldn’t do it?
If I could talk to that 11-year old me now, the first thing I would say would be “don’t worry”. I would tell her that everything would be ok and that by Christmas if would feel like I’d been at my new school forever. I would say that all the other new Year 7s had similar worries to me, that we would work things together and that pretty much everyone we met along the way would help us. Teachers wouldn’t expect us to know exactly where to go, and they wouldn’t expect us to be able to do everything straight away.
I would, however, give her a few words of advice, for things I wish I’d done differently.
Firstly, be friendly. I didn’t really think about the fact that everyone would be in the same boat as me and that we’d be learning together for the next five years. If I had, I would have talked to more people early on and made friends more easily. The more people you know, the more they introduce to others and soon you know loads of people! But remember, your friendship groups will change and evolve throughout the year, and throughout your school career. People I thought I’d be friends with forever at the start of Year 7 were not my closest friends by the time I left in Year 11. It’s also a good idea not to limit your friends – have a wide circle and mix with lots of different people.
Secondly, ensure you make the best first impression. Whether with other students or teachers, make sure that the first impression people get of you is the one you want them to have.
Have courage to try new things. There are loads of new experiences at secondary school and you’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try. Plus, you’ll inevitably get to meet even more new people and widen your circle of friends.
Try to get into routines, to be organised and to work hard. Put a copy of your timetable on the inside of your locker door to help you check which books to take and do your homework as soon as you can after it’s been set. You don’t have to be perfect but if you try your best at all times you won’t go far wrong.
Look after yourself. Don’t underestimate how mentally and physically tiring it can be starting secondary school. Make sure you always eat properly (including breakfast) and get a good night’s sleep. That way, you’ll be best equipped to take advantage of all the opportunities available.
Ask for help. Talk to friends, parents, teachers, your tutors or HOY if you are worried or struggling about anything.
Be open-minded. You never know where life is going to take you, so don’t rule anything out and keep your options open.
Finally, take every opportunity that comes your way. If the Corona-virus has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what’s going to happen. So don’t let opportunities pass you by and have regrets about things you didn’t do.
You’re going to have a brilliant time at secondary school in the next chapter of your life. Yes, the first couple of days might be a bit scary, but very soon you’ll wonder what you were worried about and before you know it, you’ll be in Year 11.
PS – Just to let you know, I never met anyone who had their head flushed down the toilet!