Sunday, August 14, 2016

Making Friends 101, #3

This is my last post in my Making Friends series! If you haven't read my two previous posts yet, read them here! In my first post, I gave you 6 broad tips on making friends. In my second post, I narrowed the topics down to fitting in. In this final post, we will be talking about one of the most difficult things to avoid in Middle School: drama.

Yes, it's true. Middle School is practically brimming with pointless drama. It can tear apart friendships and cause rifts in your friend group. Although seemingly unavoidable, one of the best ways to deal with drama is to avoid it. The big questions is: How?

Well, the first things is, don't be a drama starter. There are already plenty of those walking around the hallway who feed off of the attention that drama gives them. It's simple to avoid being a drama starter and that's the age-old golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Do you want people talking about you behind your back? No? Then don't do it to other people! Easy enough, right?

The second thing is to not add to the drama. Drama starters are only successful if they have a group of people who will add to the drama and keep it going. Don't spread drama or gossip about it because you're only fueling the fire and inadvertently hurting someone's feelings in the process.

The last thing I want to bring up about drama is your image. How do you want your peers to remember you as you leave Middle School? As the person who was always caught up in pointless drama or as the person who rose above it and whose goal was to build people up instead of tearing them down?

You decide how your 3 years of Middle School will be. Remember to follow my 6 Tips and you'll be making friends in no time! If you have any suggestions for a blog post, a question, advice, etc., email!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Making Friends 101, #2

If you read my last post, I'm doing a series of 3 posts about making friends! If you haven't read my first one yet, read it now! My last 6 tips were pretty broad but definitely universal in their application. On this second installment in my series, we are going to narrow our focus on Making Friends into the elusive topic of fitting in.

As read in these Alumni Posts, you'll notice that fitting in was an issue they faced as well as me. Unlike my experience in Elementary School, Middle School was the first place where I had ever experienced cliques or groups. The stereotypical groups were: jocks, preps, goths, troublemakers, nerds, etc. etc. etc. And then there was me. I didn't identify with any of these groups at all. So, I was lost on where I'd fit in. If you read back to my first post, one of my tips is to be yourself. Easier said than done. There's A LOT of pressure to mold your personality into one which will fit you into one of those groups. After several of my own horribly failed attempts at this, I realized it is so much easier and successful to be yourself, although it can be hard at times.

In all honesty, today I like to consider myself a bouncer across all sorts of groups. I have friends who are goths, jocks, preps, and nerds. And I'm still me. I can't tell you all enough how much less stress it is to not have to uphold some sort of image. It is so much easier to put a smile on your face, be yourself, and consider a broad ranges or people your friends.

Remember, images aren't everything. In my experiences, the easiest way to fit in and make friends is to just be yourself. Come back tomorrow for my 3rd and final post in the Making Friends series!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Making Friends 101

So you start a new school, have all your classes memorized, that pesky locker combination down, and then what? Making friends! Easier said than done in my experience. Well, I have compiled a list of advice that I discovered through the trials and errors to making friends and most importantly, keeping them.

  1. Go into Middle School knowing this: there is a very large chance that your best friends in elementary school will not be the same friends you have in middle school. This isn't anything personal. People grow and change and discover new interests and hobbies. This doesn't mean that you can't stay friends with them -- it just means that it's good to know that you can make new friends.
  2. Be Yourself!! One of the key tips to making friends is to be completely honest about who you are! Granted, there is a lot of pressure to fit in and fit into a specific group. However, in the long run, it's far more beneficial to be honest about who you are from the beginning. True friends will appreciate the type of person you really are and are the kind of friends most likely to turn into lifelong friends.
  3. SMILE!! :) This is so important! I can't stress this enough. A smile is worth a thousand words. It can brighten someone's day and make you appear more inviting. If you are super nervous, fear not! Paste the biggest smile you can on your face and it guarantees a look of confidence! A great tip I followed when making friends was 'Fake it 'til you make it!' This is so true. Smile even when you don't feel like it and eventually you'll be smiling for real.
  4. Listen! People love to talk about themselves -- it's natural. Listening to someone's hobbies or interests and genuinely being interested says a lot to the other person about your character. While chatty people are great to be around, listening opens up tons of doors in the friend area.
  5. Names, names, names!!! Make it a point to learn and use tons of people's names. It's been said that the sweetest sound to a person's ears is their own name. Addressing everyone by their name shows them that you have made it a point to get to know them.
  6. Step out of your comfort zone. Sit with someone you normally wouldn't sit with! This can lead to tons of unexpected surprises. Someone you wouldn't think of talking to could turn into your best friend someday. Don't feel as though you have to stick with a certain 'group'. Broaden your friendship horizons!

This is the first of a series of three posts to my tips on making friends. Check back in tomorrow for more tips!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Alumni Post #4 -- Everyone deals with the same problems.

Middle School was absolutely the worst three years of my life. As the prideful person I am, being judged and disliked by others were my greatest fears. Middle School is brimming with judgement and the pressure to be accepted, making everyday for me a seemingly endless pain. For most students, including myself, the struggle of trying to reflect the person you are on the inside to your outside appearance under the harsh social conditions is the most difficult part of Middle School. Through my experience, my only advice to anyone working through Middle School or about to go in, is to realize that everyone is dealing with the same problems you are, and that although there is pressure to be accepted, a lot of it is in your own head, so just relax, don't talk unless you have to, and you will do fine. -- Nova B.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alumni Post #3 -- Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!

Middle School can be a confusing place, but there's one thing I remember from it most. It wasn't the dances or the friends, it was learning about where I can fit in. I've never been much of an out-going person. I've always been able to count my friends on my hand and my shyness definitely got the best of me. That being said, I was nervous about asking the guys if I could play basketball in gym. They didn't hesitate to say yes and put me on the team, but it still took me a while to come out of my shell. I'm still shy for the most part, though some of that shyness went away after those years of playing basketball with the boys. I guess my point of this is: Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst anyone can do is say no. -- Kylie W.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Alumni Post #2 -- Overwhelmed with the campus!

When I was entering Middle School, I was overwhelmed with the much bigger campus and two story buildings. Coming from one of the smallest Elementary Schools in our county, it was a huge change. One challenge I had, was although most everyone from my Elementary School when to my Middle School, I was not very close with them or not in any of the same classes. I had to find and make new friends. One thing I wish I knew before Middle School was somehow if you make an effort to make friends, it'll all fall into place. In no time, you'll know the campus like the back of your hand. Middle School, if  done right, can be a great time to prepare you for High School without much stress. -- Gunnar C.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Alumni Post #1 -- Time flies and you're one of the big guys!

SURVIVING MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! My name is Shelby K.! I am a Sophomore at Crystal River High School. Now hearing 'Sophomore', you're probably thinking: 'She's one of the big guys! She's in High School!' But, believe it or not, I was in your shoes, starting a brand new school, with a bunch of new people, new teachers, new environment! It seems scary the first couple weeks. But trust me when I say, 'You're going to be okay!'.  I think the hardest part of starting Middle School is everything being unfamiliar. You go from knowing everyone for 5 years at one school, and becoming so familiar with the people, the school... Enough to know it like the back of your hand! Then to now entering what seems like this big world with many other people than just your friends. I remember my first day. I was so lost, so scared, and just didn't know what to think! My biggest fear was just completely humiliating myself. But I met a lot of very nice teachers to help me throughout the day, and even the other students were very nice. After a month or so, the school seems like it shrinks. It's not as big as it was when you first started. By that time, you've also made many new friends and have become more confident. My tips for surviving Middle School are to stay focused, always be bright, get involved as much as you can, always be on top of your game. Ask teachers questions if you have any. Never be afraid to ask! Always be true to yourself. Don't let anything get in your way of what you truly want in your future career or even yourself. There will be a lot of drama but it's always safe to stay away. And just enjoy Middle School while you can because the next 3 years go by really quick and the next thing you know, you're a Sophomore in High School! -- Shelby K.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Why This Blog Was Created

The thought of starting Middle School was summed up in one word for me: Terrifying.  Towards the end of my fifth grade year, teachers began to focus on warning their classes of how 'hard' Middle School would be. How much harder classes would be, how hard it would be to get to all seven of your classes on time, how hard it would be to get to your locker and get what you needed out of it in only five minutes. Hard. And scary. And my word: Terrifying. On top of all this, at the end of my fifth grade year, the county I lived in decided to redraw its school zoning lines. And because I have horrible luck, I was now zoned for a school where none of my friends were zoned. Literally, out of a class of about 150 kids, I was the only student zoned for this Middle School. As if this transition wasn't going to be hard enough, right? Well, after several months of forging my way through this unknown territory, I picked up on the nuances of  not only surviving Middle School, but ROCKING it. This blog was created to help kids like me-- who want a resource to guide them through this transition. That is what this blog is here to do!