004: 3 THINGS EVERY GRADE 9 HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN SHOULD KNOW BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

I recently spoke to a group of soon-to-be high school freshmen and their families, on the eve of their official first day of high school.  As expected, they were excited, nervous and a bit tired after plunging into the cold bath that is an eight-hour school day after an eight-week hiatus.  I remember my summer prior to my freshmen high school year, known as grade nine in Canada, where I grew up.  It was a time of serious decision-making for me: Should I break up with my grade 8 sweetheart? Should I try out for the midget (also known as grade 9) basketball team? Should I order the crew neck sweater to accompany the rest of my school uniform, or, should I wear this throwback uniform sweater vest that I found at the Salvation Army thrift store?  I had to say “yes” to the sweater vest!  I also recall never getting any real advice before entering high school, unless I count my older brother telling me, “Ian don’t date any girls at that school”.

When I spoke to this group of ‘miner-niners’, an affectionately coined name given by grade 10s since, like forever, I didn’t mention the “don’t date any girls”, advice, even though I did follow it--by default.  Instead I decided to share three "tips" that would have been useful for me--and studies have shown--to build high school careers on.