|Jadyn Noelle Photography|
Middle school is notorious for being a very hard three years and having just survived it, I completely agree.
Though it may be extremely hard at times, there are still countless amazing parts to it!
I think that three of the key things to having a successful middle school experience are relationships, staying true to yourself, and a relationship with God. My parents, God and my friends helped me through, and I left with only a few battle wounds. I think that if you focus on these three things, then it can be very fun and full of good memories.
Friends can make or break a school year. It's easy for middle schoolers to become so involved in only being friends with people that make them "look good". My closest friends have been the people I least expected to relate to. Over the past three years two of the most important things I have learned is to always get to know people for myself, and it’s good to have friends outside of school.
I can’t tell you how many times I listened to what people said about others, avoided that person, and then ended up becoming really close friends with them once I started talking to them myself. Sometimes people may judge you for who you’re friends with, but if you know in your heart that they’re good for you then you shouldn’t care what people say. It’s better to have friends you love and are happy with, rather than being with who may make you look good. I have a giant mixture of friends from all sorts of “groups”, and it’s so fun! But my two closest friends don’t even go to my school. It’s really nice to have a few people that aren’t involved in your school life. Long story short, get to know people yourself, accept everyone and don’t worry about what people think of your friends.
Possibly the biggest reason for drama at this age is dating. Guys are great friends. I have a lot of guy friends and it’s really fun. But the mistake that girls make is thinking that in middle school, making a friendship into a relationship will actually go somewhere. Remember this, you are thirteen, you aren’t getting married tomorrow and as my wonderful dad put it, “You can’t get bacon from a chicken, and you can’t get real romance from a middle school boy.” There is so much truth to that. I have had a million friends cry to me (more than once) about boyfriend issues. Save yourself the tears, and don’t do it. In middle school they make much better friends then boyfriends.
One of the hardest things about school is not becoming someone other than yourself. It’s hard, because everyone wants to fit in. You should never compromise who you are to be be “accepted”. It’s not worth it, because in the end if you can’t be yourself, then you won’t be happy. I know this.
There is a friend for everyone. Now if you’re disagreeing right now and saying, "No there aren't friends for everyone. No one talks to me," then I'd suggest you might be wrong. In seventh grade, I didn’t have any classes with any of my friends, and this was during my shy stage. Nobody talked to me, so I assumed that no one liked me. I found out later that since I didn’t talk to anyone, it caused people to think I didn’t want them to talk to me. But as soon as I became friends with one girl (we started talking about a book series and it went from there), I was able to start being myself more. I became friends with her friends, and my year got better.
While I was quiet and didn’t talk to anyone, thinking that they wouldn’t like me, they just wanted me to open up, talk to them, and be myself. So even if you’re incredibly shy, just start with one person and introduce yourself. Don’t act like you like certain things just to have something to talk about. Stay true to who you are, and you will find friends. And if you have a hard time starting conversations, I find that giving a (genuine!) compliment can help start conversation. Again, do not change who you are just to make friends. If hanging out with them requires changing yourself, they’re probably not ideal friends.
My whole life I have not liked sunday schools, youth groups, large church gatherings and crowds of people. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus, I just don’t like large groups of people. But in sixth grade my parents forced me to go to a youth group, and over time I came to love it. This last year I alternated between three different youth groups, and can now tolerate large groups of people. The best part of it though, is that it truly helped me survive middle school.
I made a few fantastic friends there, and I’ve never been closer to God. I leave verses in my locker, or on my binders to help throughout the day. Also I started listening to worship music in the mornings before school rather than other music, and it helps put me in a good mood for the day ahead. So even if you think that youth groups aren't your thing, I highly suggest trying it out. There is no way I could’ve lived through middle school without it. And if you try it and really don’t like it, then at least find some strong Christian friends. One of my best friends actually isn’t a Christian, and I have many more that aren’t, but I still make sure to have good Christian friends who believe the same. For me it is vital to having a healthy life.
Yes, middle school has its downs, but it also has ups. It’s like a roller coaster. Whenever you go down a hill on a roller coaster, then you have to grip onto the bar, or else it feels like you’ll fly right out. During the downs of middle school, then you need friends, family, and God to hold onto. During the ups, then you'll have people to share it with. I have some great memories and yes there was hard times, but I still had fun. It’s definitely a learning experience, and one that I wouldn’t change. It made me a stronger person, and now I have learned things that I can use in high school.