What to Expect in High School (and what it means for your social life)

There’s no doubt that it’s exciting to start high school. As an incoming freshman, you have tons of great experiences ahead, and chances to make lasting memories! Most kids can’t wait to start attending dances and football games. Your favorite movies suggest that the next four years will be a blast. So why are you so nervous?

When you start something new, it’s totally normal to freak out a little. Change can be scary. Unknown’s can make us anxious. If you have a tight-knit group of friends, will you drift apart, now that middle school is over? Will you make new friends? Will you struggle to find an activity or club that feels like the right fit? These questions are probably buzzing around your mind.

Unfortunately, there are no definite answers. But it may help to have an idea of what you’ll experience in the coming months. Want to know what to expect in high school, and what it means for your social life? Here are a few clues:

New Faces: When starting a new school, you can expect to see new people. You may be taking classes with sophomores and juniors, or students who attended other middle schools. That might sound intimidating, but it’s actually good news! New people have the potential to become new friends. You just have to stay positive, and stay open. Reach out of your comfort zone, and get to know the people around you. Have conversations. Make after-school plans. Don’t close yourself off just because you’re nervous, or already have some good friends from middle school. There’s no harm in adding a few new faces to your social circle. More likely, it will help you have a busier and more well-rounded social life!

A Hectic Schedule:
Schoolwork tends to increase in high school. You’re likely to spend more time hitting the books, and striving toward your academic goals. On top of all that, you’ll have a wide array of activities, clubs and teams to consider. It’s all a part of the high school experience, but it can leave you feeling like you’re spread a little thin. How can you maintain a social life, when your schedule is so jam-packed? For starters, you should compare schedules with your friends, and commit to plans in advance. Try to grab lunch or walk to classes together. And when you can’t hang out in person, do your best to keep in touch with texts and phone calls, so you stay up to date on each other’s lives. In the meantime, befriend the people who you see on a daily basis. Get to know your classmates, teammates and project partners. This will make the more tedious parts of your day a lot more fun!

Popular Events: In high school, events like school dances and homecoming games get a lot of hype! Freshman year is a good time to check out all the major events, even if you’re not sure you’re interested. Make arrangements to attend events with friends, instead of showing up solo. This way, you’ll have someone to talk to if you end up bored. Just make sure you’re not closed off to the possibility of having fun. The more you join, the more potential friends you’ll meet. Plus, you could discover a new interest along the way!

Shifts in the Friend Group:
As you go through high school, you and your friends will be exposed to new people, new interests, and new opportunities. When this happens, it is common for some friendships to fade. That might sound like a major cause for alarm, but it’s nothing to stress over! Friendships drift and change as we get older. That’s a natural part of growing up. Your strongest and truest relationships will likely withstand the test of time, but there’s nothing wrong with letting go of a relationship you’ve outgrown. It just makes room in your life for friends who are a better fit.

Even when you know what to expect, it’s still possible to be nervous about starting high school. But rather than letting your jitters lead to a full-on freak out, you might as well embrace them as a part of the exciting new changes headed your way. You may not love everything about your new school, but as long as you stay positive, and stay open to new friends and interests, you’re sure to set the tone for an awesome four years!

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Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More