Communication, community, and care relieves the stress of high school transitions at GCE

The transition from middle school to high school can be stressful for students and their families.  

If you start to feel overwhelmed about heading off to high school, please remember that you are not alone. The entire GCE community (faculty, staff, students, and families) is here to support you and help you succeed in this next chapter. 

As we head into the fall and anxieties about new experiences, questions about making friends, and concerns about doing well in classes run rampant, we encourage you to take a deep breath and check out the following tips to ease your journey to becoming a high schooler. 

Speak up

Share how you’re feeling with those around you. Find someone you’re comfortable speaking with—a friend, a parent or guardian, or the school counselor—and tell them what’s going on. Chances are that someone else (another student or even a teacher) might share your feelings. Sometimes the reassurance that you’re not alone and the opportunity to talk through your concerns is enough to help overcome your discomfort.

At GCE, there are several options to connect with others and share how you feel. Advisory and Connections are programs designed to support social-emotional learning and build community among the student body. 

Jayden, a junior, suggests establishing study groups with your cohort to help navigate your assignments and ease anxieties around making new friends.

Join in

One of the best ways to ease into a new environment is by finding something that you enjoy. New students, regardless of grade level, benefit immensely from joining a club, team, or class of interest. Joining an extracurricular can help break the larger schoolwide community into smaller manageable chunks and can introduce new students to others with shared interests. 

GCE has over a dozen clubs and student organizations from Anime Club to Yoga. We host student life fairs every year to help introduce new students to our extracurricular opportunities. The best part, if we don’t already have a club for the thing you like, be a pioneer and start a new one. You never know, it might just be the next big thing.  

Our parents suggest connecting with other GCE families near you using the Family Directory tool. It’s a great way to meet new families in your area, coordinate carpools, and establish study groups.

Establish routines

Consider your before and after school habits. What time do you wake up? Do you eat breakfast in the morning? How are you getting to school? Do you have a backup plan or alternate mode of transportation? Are you staying after school for Sanctuary or a club meeting? Will you complete your homework before or after dinner? Are you getting enough sleep? All these questions and more are important to talk through with family to help establish expectations and a thoughtful routine to help you succeed in high school.

Our parents and students suggest continuing regular check-ins about school work as if your student was in the 8th grade. The transition can be difficult, and parent check-ins can make it easier to handle, but remember to give your student the space to try (and sometimes fail) for themselves. 

Ask questions 

There is no such thing as a stupid question. At GCE, we want you to understand the why behind what you are learning. So ask every question that comes to mind. We want you to be present in class and our community, and we can only do that if you have a space safe for inquiry.

Graham, a sophomore, encourages new students to participate in their classes and not be afraid to ask questions. It’s ok to be nervous, but have confidence in yourself. You’re going to do great! 

Be patient

Try to keep in mind that adjusting to high school is going to take some time. It is a big transition, and you will be entering a new environment. It might take some time, but as you get to know GCE and settle into your new community, you’ll learn to manage all of the challenges placed before you.

Remember to take a deep breath and know that you are not alone. GCE is here to support you.

Sarah Brock

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