We’ve all heard those typical middle school stereotypes: that they are the worst years of your life, you can only succeed if you’re cool, all the classes are soul-crushingly hard, your friends are horribly mean, and you’re going to fail everything. After hearing this, you start your first day of middle school terrified, feeling tiny, and completely lost the second you walk through the gates. You’re afraid of all your teachers, immediately anxious about grades, and dreading trying to find a place to sit at lunch. Of course, anyone that has spent more than a few days here will tell you that those ideas that have been drilled into your brain since you were young are completely incorrect.
Although everyone is different, the consensus was clear after a survey of the seventh and eighth graders: junior high is so much better than your friends or family will tell you. There are so many preconceived notions that we have going into new experiences: that you will fail, you’re not going to have any fun, you won’t make any friends, and the list goes on. But the survey proved otherwise. Fellow eighth-grader Madeline stated: “Before I came to this school, I thought that middle school would be full of bullies...I had to be in a bunch of clubs, find friends in high places, or that sort of thing.” Similarly, seventh grader, Jacob said: “I personally really believed that the higher grades would have picked on us and made fun of us.” Although these are only the opinions of two students, their feelings seemed to match many others’ perceptions of junior high, including mine.
Although the stereotypes I received in my survey varied, including bullying, horrible lunch experiences, everyone making fun of us, overwhelming homework load, and more, the answer to the question “did this stereotype turn out to be accurate?” was a general “no”. For example, seventh grader Jacob stated: “These stereotypes were somewhat wrong… I really like it here.”
As seen above, middle school does not have to be the worst years of your life. If you look at this new experience as a chance to learn new things and make new friends and not as a prison, as I admittedly often have, you will have the absolute best time. The truth is, it’s all completely up to you. Your classes can be hard if you don’t work to improve them, and you won’t fail if you study hard and put in the effort. If your friends are mean to you, they aren’t the friends you need. Your middle school experience is only what you make it and if you have an open mind, it will be the best years of your life. Just don’t forget to enjoy these years, and keep in mind that these stereotypes will only be true if you make them that way. To quote beloved teacher, Ms. Lee, “Have fun as you learn!!”