You’re saying goodbye to middle school and diving into the rollercoaster that is high school. Anyone who’s been through it knows the transition can be exciting, but also pretty nerve-wracking.

This isn’t just some ordinary change; this is a huge leap. You’re growing up, and also stepping into a bigger pond with a ton of unknowns. You’ve got a new routine, subjects you’ve never heard of, and a whole new social scene to figure out. 

As they say, though, “knowledge is power.”

If you’ve got an older sibling or maybe a family friend who’s been through high school, don’t hesitate to ask them to try and get the 411 on what to expect. Even small tips, like which teachers are super strict, or which bathrooms to avoid, can be game-changers.

High school has its ups and downs, but how you deal with it makes all the difference. With that in mind, here are some actionable tips, gathered from actual, outgoing high school seniors, to give you some insight about how to have the best experience possible.

1 | You’re Not Alone 🤲

“Look, you might feel like you’re on an island sometimes. Trust me, though, you’re part of a big tribe of confused freshmen. Everyone is experiencing the same feelings together. We’ve all been there, and it gets better. Stick it out, and you’ll find your people.”

2 | Get Involved 🏅

“Clubs, sports, theater — whatever you’re into, get on it. It’s not just about filling out your college application. It’s also a good way to make friends and find your place in a new setting.”

3 | Ask for Help When Needed 🆘

“It’s okay not to know stuff, alright? High school can be like a maze sometimes, and it’s fine to ask for directions. Whether it’s academic help from teachers or emotional support from a guidance counselor, just ask. They’re there to help.”

4 | Expand Your Squad 👯

“You might have a comfort zone with your middle school friends, but don’t let that hold you back. Be friendly, smile, and be outgoing. Before you know it, you’ll have a diverse group of friends that makes high school a lot more fun.”

5 | Don’t be Scared by Upperclassmen 🫢

“Older kids can seem like they have it all together. But, we were in your exact same position just a couple of years ago. Most upperclassmen are willing to help you out and offer advice if you just ask.”

6 | Keep Up with Your Work 🎒

“I can’t stress this enough — your grades matter. Keep up with homework, study for tests, and don’t blow off projects. You’ll be glad you put in the work when it’s time for college applications, or whatever you plan to do next after high school’s over.”

7 | Have Fun 🤭

“High school’s not just about books and grades. Go to games, dances, engage in clubs and other activities. Even if it’s something you don’t think you’d enjoy at first, you won’t know until you give it a try. Open-mindedness can make your high school years surprisingly fun, not just bearable.”

8| Don’t Forget the Rulebook 📖

“Familiarize yourself with the student handbook, if you’ve got one. I’m not saying memorize it, but at least know the important stuff. High school rules are different, and usually stricter than middle school. Don’t get caught slipping up over something avoidable.”