The Lowdown
30 June 2022 • 4 min read

Starting School

Starting a new school or level of education is exciting, but it also might be stressful and feel pretty weird and unfamiliar to you. You’re not alone in this – most of the people in your class are probably feeling or have felt the same way.

A boy is split in half; one half is at school with a heavy backpack full of books, and the other half is at the rugby field with a heavy bag full of rugby gear. 

There are probably lots of things on your mind right now. Will I fit in? Will there be more work? More pressure? What about exams? Will I have friends in my class? What if I don’t remember where to go?

It’s totally OK to feel nervous. It’s a big change going from being in an environment you’re comfortable and familiar with to somewhere new.

High School

  • Your first year of high school can take you by surprise in both positive and negative ways. Here are some things you can expect, to help you mentally prepare for the experience:
  • You’ll be learning across a wide range of subjects – many of these you’ll be able to choose yourself. This gives you opportunities to really focus on what you enjoy or what will help you achieve the career you want.
  • You’ll work with different teachers in different classrooms throughout the day. Everything may seem much more unfamiliar because of this but you will soon get to know your teachers and classrooms just like you do now.
  • You’ll be more independent and responsible for managing your own timetable – this will be more complex than before but you’ll get used to it in no time.
  • You may have some awesome new extra-curricular activities like sports and clubs to consider joining. These are great ways to make new friends!
  • Most high schools hold an orientation day before school actually starts. Make sure you attend if you can, so you can get a tour of your new school – this way you know what you’re facing and will have more confidence for your first day. You might even be able to spark new friendships with other people who are feeling just as nervous and excited as you are.

Your first day

To help things go a little smoother on your first day, you could try a few things like:

  • Find out if there is anyone you know going to the same school and see if you can catch up
  • Try to have an early night and a well-rested sleep the night before
  • Visit the school before you start or study your campus map so you know how to find your way around
  • Make sure you have all your books and stationery, pack your bag and lay out your uniform the night before

Even if you get off to a bad start, don’t over think it - you’ll settle in soon and find where you feel comfortable, your crew or a way you enjoy expressing yourself.

There’s no denying that there are challenges and hurdles that lie ahead as you adjust to new environments, connections and classes, but these changes are mostly positive and you’ll find yourself a wiser, more capable person because of them.

If you’re really struggling to adjust to your new school, things just aren’t getting any easier or you feel like you can’t bear to face each day, reach out to someone you trust or your school counsellor and talk to them about how you’re feeling.

Where to get help:

If you’re thinking about harming yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 0508 82 88 65 now to talk to someone who cares and can support you.

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