Survival Through Middle School: Middle School Tips From A Teen

Kelsey is a crazy 17-year-old from Franklin, TN. She loves writing, acting, and hanging out with friends. Her favorite subject is English and she hopes to teach it herself when she gets older.Tracks behind my house . . . by liebemarlene.

In the middle of my sixth grade year, my family relocated to a different town, in a different state, in a different region of the country. I felt out of place in my new school. Everyone was nice enough, but they talked differently and acted differently in Tennessee, compared to my beloved Pennsylvania. I made a few friends in my classes, but I never saw them outside of school.

In seventh grade, I was lucky enough to latch onto a small group of girls who gladly adopted me. We hung out and had sleepovers sometimes, but I still felt like I was on the fringe of everything. I stayed friends with a few of these girls through eighth grade, but most of us parted ways when high school came around.

I felt lonely for a long time; I was pretty much a nerd and a teacher’s pet by most people’s standards, and I didn’t know how to get along with other middle school girls. The few friends I did have sometimes proved to lay more on the enemy side of the spectrum, going from “best friends” one day to teasing me the next. I spent a lot of evenings crying on my mom’s shoulder, wondering aloud why I couldn’t find good friends.

I discovered the song, “The Middle,” by Jimmy Eat World. I learned to live by the words it contains. They are completely and totally true, especially for those awkward and scary middle school years in which no one really feels like they fit in:

“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet

It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.

Just try your best, try everything you can.

And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

It just takes some time,

Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.

Everything, everything will be just fine;

Everything, everything will be alright, alright…

Hey, you know they’re all the same.

You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in.

Live right now, yeah, just be yourself.

It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else…”

I followed the counsel of this song and tried my best to be my best self, despite what others thought or said about me. I clung to my true friends as lifelines, and sought out new ones where I saw potential. When someone failed me as a friend, I simply moved on. I tried not to hold grudges or seek revenge, because I figured I’d be wasting my time.

When I started high school, I found a whole new world of friends and experiences. High school is one great thing to look forward to in middle school. People mature. And no matter who you are or what you’re interested in, there’s bound to be someone else who’ll share those interests. Middle school is just that – “the middle of the ride” – and the sooner you realize it, the better.

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