Where I grew up, you didn’t necessarily go to the school closest to you. In fact, we actually passed three other elementary schools before I got to mine, but that was totally fine with me. I got to ride the bus, plus I loved my elementary school and all the friends I made. It was wonderful!
The problem came at the end of 6th grade when it was time to go to middle school. All of my closest friends were going to one school, but I was zoned for another. Most of my neighborhood friends were a year younger so they weren’t going yet, and my best friend was going to a private school. I felt really alone and scared. Fortunately, it ended up working out great, and remains a favorite time in my life! I made tons of new friends, despite some middle school drama.
Speaking of drama, my first “frenemy” told everyone I stuffed my bra. Okay, so MAYBE there was that one day when I was feeling a bit insecure about my underdeveloped body and I MIGHT have worn my mom’s padded bra, but there was no “stuffing”. I also got sent to the principal’s office for the first, and only time, for calling my best friend “a little fart” in earshot of a teacher. And, I had an unfortunate fall, scraping my face on the asphalt, followed by some kids who called me “Scabs”. However, as Katy Clark shares in this month’s feature, Middle School Teaches Valuable Life Lessons, all of these things helped me mature. Middle school gave me the skills to overcome any shyness and make friends pretty easily. (To this day, I have never met a stranger.) I had a very diverse friend group, making friends of different races, religions and economic backgrounds. Nobody cared. Nobody judged. I learned to accept my body the way it was made, watch what I say in front of others, and not take myself too seriously. These are skills I am grateful for and still try to use to this day. I actually loved middle school!
At the end of 9th grade, it was time to move up to high school. And guess what? The same thing happened again… “ALL of my friends” went to one high school and I was zoned for another. At the time it felt horrible, but honestly, it gave me the opportunity to make even more new friends. Bonus, a lot of the kids I went to elementary school with were now reunited at the high school! I will say, one of the greatest things that helped me with all of my transitions was being involved in after-school activities. Christina Katz expands on this idea in her feature, Five Benefits Of After School Activities For Happy, Well-Rounded Kids. We have also included our annual After School Activities Guide to help you and your child find information on local team sports, martial arts, gymnastics, dance, and much more!
So, whether your kids are going back to familiar territory or starting on a new adventure, I do hope that everyone has a wonderful, joyful school year filled with awesome activities and friends!