5 Things Almost Every Middle Schooler Will Experience
Dear Middle Schooler
When you stepped into your first middle school classroom, you probably realized just how different middle school is from elementary school. Your middle school years are full of changes that can be both stressful and rewarding. You’re able to make more choices for yourself and are given more responsibilities, but this often means learning to balance more work—all while trying to navigate shifting friend groups and your own changing body.
It’s enough to make you feel like you’re the only one struggling or going through certain changes, especially with the positive posts everyone makes on social media. Don’t worry, though—you’re not alone! It might not seem like it, but everyone has gone through the changes you’re experiencing now, including your peers. Here are a few things almost every middle schooler will experience—plus a few tips you can use to make the changes a little easier.
Making New Friends
Even if your friends attend the same middle school as you, you might have completely different class schedules or begin to drift apart as you develop different interests. It’s easy to feel like an outsider or to feel guilty for making new friends. Try to remember, though, that it’s natural and that you don’t have to give up old friendships to forge new ones. Your friend group might simply grow as everyone makes a few new friends. When you do grow apart from old friends, that’s natural, too—sometimes it’s just part of growing up, but it doesn’t automatically mean that you did anything wrong.
If you’re struggling to make friends, you’re definitely not the only one. Sometimes friendships take a little work or appear when you don’t expect them. Make an effort to start conversations, try sitting next to the new kid in class or at lunch, and find kids with common interests by joining an after-school club or activity that really interests you.
Struggling With Peer Pressure
In middle school, peer pressure can take a lot of different forms. You might feel pressured to let another student copy your homework, to make fun of another kid’s clothes, or even to try something you know is dangerous or wrong. It’s easy to cave to this pressure, especially at first when the offense seems small and you’re desperate to fit in. However, real friends won’t pressure you to do something wrong or that you’re uncomfortable with; if they do, they don’t really have your feelings or best interest at heart. Plus, do you really want to fit in with kids who bully others or put themselves in dangerous situations? While refusing to give in to peer pressure can make you feel awkward in the moment, doing what you feel is right will help you feel better about yourself in the long run and will help you build a group of friends who genuinely care about you.
Visiting the Dentist and Orthodontist
Now that you’re getting older, you’re able to take a more active role in your oral health. At home, you should floss and use mouthwash at least once a day and brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. If you’re struggling to brush your teeth for the full two minutes, try playing a video to keep track of time and help it fly by. When you visit your pediatric dentist in Vancouver for your regular evaluations, listen carefully to your dentist’s suggestions—just as closely as you’d listen to a doctor. It’ll help your teeth and gums stay healthy and ensure that you don’t have to go back for a filling.
Dr. Mo and Dr. Z will evaluate your front-to-back, side-to-side, and vertical tooth relationships. They’ll check to make sure your bite is properly aligned and your teeth are spaced properly.
If you are already an orthodontic patient, you know all about the importance of going to the orthodontist regularly. For those who haven’t been yet but know orthodontic care is on the horizon, most kids and teens need what’s called interceptive orthodontic care. It’s treatment that starts before there are any major problems.
Puberty can be weird and uncomfortable, especially since everyone hits puberty at different ages and is affected differently. While it might feel like you’re the only one going through a rough patch, puberty is natural and isn’t anything to be ashamed of—everyone has gone through it! You can always ask your parents or the school nurse questions about how your body is changing. They’ll be able to give you tips about how to handle it, whether it’s a squeaky voice, B.O., or period symptoms. Overall, try not to stress too much—just let yourself to be a kid!
Battling High-Stress Levels
The transition from elementary school to middle school can be rocky and stressful. You have to figure out how to open your locker, how to make it from one class to another before the bell, and how to juggle all the homework from each of your classes. Since you’re nearing the middle of the year, you’ve had a little time to adjust and to realize where your strengths and weaknesses lie. During the holidays, take time to organize your folders and binders, get a planner to keep track of due dates, or ask your parents for some tips. This will help you turn in assignments on time, prevent you from losing homework, and make sure you get to class on time.
Middle school is a time of change, but that change doesn’t have to be all bad—in the long term, it’s actually a good thing. It might take a little work to adapt at first, but the hard work you pour into your studies gives you the opportunity to succeed. You won’t reach every single goal you work towards, but when you do it’ll feel even more amazing because you worked so hard for it. You’ll be able to build lasting friendships, hone your skills and talents, and exercise more independence than you have ever had before—hopefully with a lot of fun along the way.