Is it common for people to be scared to go into high school? Can you give me some tips to survive?

It's very common to be anxious about going to high school, and with good reason. What if you get lost or can't find your classes? What if you don't know anyone? What if you can't figure out your locker combination? Aren't seniors so mature and intimidating?

These are all valid fears. If you're like most students, your high school will be the biggest school you've attended. It will serve students from numerous middle schools, so there will be tons of new faces around you. But this is nothing you can't overcome (seniors, while they seem confident now, were all in your shoes once). Have a look at the following tips for surviving the first few days of high school:

  • If your school has an orientation day/evening, go. You can walk around your school and familiarize yourself with its layout; you can find your locker; and you might even be able to get your schedule, find your classrooms, and meet some of your teachers.
  • Every morning before school, take a shower, put on deodorant, and eat some breakfast. The first rule of looking good is being clean. If nothing else, your confidence will be higher if you know you don't stink. And it's a documented fact that students who eat a good breakfast are more alert and perform better.
  • Wear clothes that suit your style. You want to dress nicely but be comfortable enough to focus on your schoolwork. Choose outfits that suit your style (are you preppy, sporty, emo?), but keep it in perspective. You're at school to learn, not to make a fashion statement.
  • Make a good first impression on your teachers. Remember that teachers all work together, so the first impressions you make on your freshman-year teachers could set the tone for your relationships with all of your teachers for your entire high school career. Be on time to class, do your homework, participate in classroom discussions, and don't text during class.
  • Remember that grades are important, even for freshmen. Develop good study habits early. Avoid procrastination, do your homework, and keep a to-do list or agenda. Staying organized and keeping up with assignments is half the battle. If you find yourself struggling in a class, ask your teacher for help during office hours or study hall as soon as possible. Once a teacher realizes that you really care about her class, she'll often go the extra mile to help you succeed.
  • Find people to have lunch with as soon as possible. Few things are scarier than your first trip to the school cafeteria. Look for groups of your middle school friends, or a person or two from your last class. Remember though, for the good and the bad, the people you select as your lunch companions could become some of your primary friends throughout your high school days. Don't be a snob, but make good choices.
  • Try to meet some new people. Although it's intimidating to see so many new faces from different parts of town in your classes, this is a rich opportunity to connect with new people. Along the same lines, try something new and join a school club. Whether you're interested in fashion, music, computers, or many other things, most high schools have a club for you where you'll meet new, like-minded people.
  • Don't give out your locker combination. Your locker is yours, don't let your new friend talk you into storing his chemistry book in your locker because it's right outside his classroom. Any time you give out your locker combination, you're likely to return to find anything from your lunch money to your iPod missing. Worse yet, if your illicit locker mate stores something in your locker that's prohibited by the school, you'll get the blame and take the punishment.
  • Don't get addicted to Facebook. Social media is a great way to connect with friends, but it can run your life if you let it. Don't give in to Facebook drama, don't have public online arguments with your friends, don't share secrets online, and don't bully anyone - ever. If you are ever a victim of any form of bullying, tell your teachers and your parents as soon as possible.