The Importance of Being You
Middle school and high school are big changes in the lives of preteen and teen girls. You are transitioning into new and often much larger schools that are unfamiliar to them. Throughout this time you are also going though puberty which gives yo additional changes in your body physically and emotionally. This is the time where you transition from automatically being friends with whoever is in your class like you did in grade school to having several different crowds at school and finding the one that you fit into. You might have the idea that you have to fit in with the “right” group which would mean the more popular one. And you may feel that you would be an outcast if you don’t fit in that group. As a young girl, your friends are who you spend the majority of your time with and who you confine in. You will probably also experience peer pressure at some point while you are in middle and high school. Where you will be pressured to do something that you are not comfortable doing.
The key of surviving middle and high school is actually quite simple. First of all, don’t overthink it. I know as a girl your age it may seem like there is a “right” way to do everything around your social group. The most important part of surviving these changes is to simply allow them to happen. Every girl goes through the physical, emotional, and social changes that you are going through. If you feel you are experiencing the earlier or later than most other girls, don’t stress out about it. Every girl goes through these changes at her own time and at her own speed but the changes are still going to be the same. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone with more experience about the changes you are going through and ask them any questions you may have. As you enter a new school you and your peers may feel like you are growing up and should act differently. Always be yourself, you know you better than anybody. Don’t feel like you have to change who you are to fit in. Being yourself is the most important part of your development and growth. You know what your like and dislikes are. Do not feel pressured to do something that you feel is wrong or you are not comfortable doing. Explore different social groups and find the one you fit in with without having to change anything about yourself. If you cannot find one, make your own group. You are certainly not the only young girl in middle or high school having trouble fitting in. Follow these tips to make new friends:
1. Attend School Events and Join Clubs: have fun with what you already enjoy doing and while trying new things as well while you encourage friendships.
2. Be Open to Different Types of People: diversity and keeping an open mind is how you meet and keep long lasting friendships. You don’t need to have everything in common with someone to be their friend. Learn bout different cultures and different personalities that people have.
3. Take Initiative: Don't wait for people to ask you to spend time with them. You make the first move, ask for peoples' numbers and to go somewhere after school.
Remember to always be yourself. Never change for anybody.
Author: Nicole PerezPsychology Intern, University of Central Florida
Nicole is a psychology student at the University of Central Florida. She has always had a passion for psychology and helping people overcome the challenges in their loves. She especially has a passion for working with children and families. She plans on continuing on to receive her PhD in clinical psychology specializing in children and their development.