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.