Middle School for Dummies

by Abby Ringberg (3rd period)

Biological: Tip #1

We all know that one person, or maybe it's you (I know it was me sometimes), who forgot to put on deodorant and is trying to cover up their stench. The truth is, body odor is normal during your middle school years. Glands are becoming more and more active, and our bodies are producing more sweat. And even though it is a sign of growing up, it can be a real pain to deal with.

Every middle schooler should have a “brown bag”. These can literally be brown bags or you can go a little further and purchase an actual toiletry bag, whatever works for you! Some basic items to store in these types of bags are deodorant, spray, feminine items for girls, etc. Though some students may not need these items yet, it is always safe and comforting to know that you have options when you are stuck at school, especially after a sweaty gym class. 1

"Brown Bag" Basics

Biological: Tip #2

Do you love sports? Do you enjoy learning new skills in a school oriented environment that allows you to play the sport you love and meet new people? Well, the good news is you don't have to stop playing the sports you love in middle school, infact, it gets even easier to become involved with sports.

Be involved with some type of physical activity. It is very important for middle school aged children to remain physically active during their early teenage years. Many studies have shown that children, of the middle school age, involved with sports are more attentive and concentrated during class. Being involved with sports also provides you with an outlet for fun physical activity with your friends and peers and helps you develop motor skills and hand eye coordination, which are very important at this age. 2

Psychosocial: Tip #3

Let's be real, fitting in and surviving the popularity contest is all on our minds when we enter middle school. However, many rising 6th graders aren't even aware of the importance of choosing friends wisely. When they start middle school, they can often times be led astray trying to impress a group of people and follow their morals and values instead of developing their own.

Surround yourself with friends who accept you and have common interests. If you are making friends with people who you can relate to or have something in common with , your morals and values are more similar and you will enjoy the same activities. When you make friends like this, who enjoy having you as a friend as well, you will feel a lot less rejection from peers which can be a big problem in during middle school years. So, while you are searching for your own identity in this part in your life, be sure you are choosing the right friends and peers to influence your growing image. 3

My 8th grade brother, Aaron, who currently at Hungary Creek Middle School, agreed to answer a few questions about friend groups in middle school and also had a few pointers on the importance of making good friend choices.

Q: Did you ever defer to peers as a source for standards and models of behavior?

A: "Yes, because I wanted to be a part of their friend group because they either had good grades or everyone liked them.”

Q: Have you ever known anyone who was rejected from your friend group or you were you rejected from their friend group?

A: “Both, I have experienced rejection and have rejected people too. In 6th grade, I was rejected by a friend because we did not share the same personalities.

Q: Do you think that it is important to understand the effects of friend choices in Middle School?

A: “Yes because the kinds of people that you meet in middle school could influence your morals and the choices you make."

Psychosocial: Tip #4

Competition doesn't stop on the court. In middle school, everyone wants to be their best so they can impress their peers and teachers. However, there is a big difference between healthy competition and unhealthy competition. Healthy competition is striving to be the best you can be and developing new skills. However, when competition is put in the social setting it can become obsessive. Comparing yourself to other peers, can put a lot of focus on your grades and success. This will then lead to a lot of pressure and stress put on you by teachers, peers, and yourself to compete until you come out on the top.

Focus on your own achievements and learning from your mistakes rather than comparing yourself to the people around you. To be honest, this is a very hard skill to master and sometimes it will feel like competition is inevitable. However, if you start middle school out by working on improving yourself and not comparing grades, scores, fitness ability, etc. then you will set yourself up for less stressful years in the future when all people can think about are test scores and worrying about their social ranking. 4

Aaron's Words of (Middle School) Wisdom:

“Stay away from the people who take competition too seriously and learn from your mistakes instead of focusing on losing.”

Cognitive: Tip #5

Yikes, after all of these biological and social changes happening, is there room to deal with more? The truth is, teachers will also be expecting a lot more from you, and they should because you have moved up to a more advanced stage of learning. Still, it can be hard to keep track of all your assignments and still be involved with other activities.

Organization is key. In my opinion, organization is the most important skill every rising 6th grader should have if they want to succeed in middle school. Classes are harder, there is more homework, and you have 7x the number of teachers as you did before, AHH! But staying organized is not as hard as it seems and there are many benefits that go along with being an organized student. For example, this skill helps students to visualize work and prioritize homework, projects, and tests. It can also help to reduce the stress that comes along with missing work. 5

Organization Options

Cognitive: Tip #6

Middle School is the first time, for many students, that studying finds its way into after school activities, and let's be real, no one wants to spend their evenings studying for Science, Math, or a Vocab Quiz. Sadly, it is a part of a successful middle school experience, however, no one is telling you to do it, so the choice to succeed is all up to you.

Review and reflect on curriculum for quizzes and tests . During middle school, you will develop many new thinking skills and ways of reflection for material you learn in school that will help you to understand subject matter. Part of this "reflection" is studying your notes, but other ways that can help students to think about what they are learning is by taking notes, drawing diagrams, asking questions, etc. This helps to develop your memory which will in turn help you to remember information for assignments in the future. 6

Middle School Survival Guide Project

Abby Ringberg

Period 3