Paris Andrew, TIP’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement, is here to help gifted students. She used to run the residential programming at TIP’s educational programs, and she is completing a PhD in related areas, so she knows what she’s talking about.
I am really worried to start middle school. I am going into a school that requires you to really try and do more than what it is asking you to do. I am worried that I can’t keep up with my sister, since she is the smartest person I know. I also want to get into certain clubs that require you to take a test and no sixth graders made the team last year. Will I ever amount to anything, or am I just too worried? –ToWorried, sixth grade
I wouldn’t say you are too worried, but rather weighing your options. With all of the early exploration and preparation you are doing, it sounds like you know what may be expected in your next phase of middle school, and that’s half the journey.
I’m happy to hear the respect you have for your sister trailblazing the way. When I was your age, I recall looking up to my older sister, who was a senior when I was transitioning into high school. It is tempting to measure success in comparison to others, but if you continue to focus on your own progress, you will be just fine.
Your inquiry to me shows that you are smart, self-aware, committed to doing well in school, willing to work hard, and interested in diversifying the school experiences you have. Add resilience and a willingness to get up and try again if you don’t get into the clubs or activities you want first time around and you will have all you need for success, so I know you will do well!
As for worries about middle school: have I got a TIP publication for you! Please check out our latest edition of Academic 411, which contains tons of useful advice on making the transition to middle school. You will find all kinds of useful tips in its pages. Enjoy the adventure!
I’m really afraid of going into sixth grade. In my elementary school, I used to be really popular. Now, I’m heading into a whole new world with four other elementary schools. I still want to be popular. But what if everyone thinks I’m weird and I’m a nerd because of my appearance? –Former Popular President, sixth grade
Dear Former Popular President,
I am excited for you in your journey to the sixth grade—the land of fresh starts!
Continue to embrace what makes you unique, be yourself, and the rest will follow. And remember: popularity comes and goes, but true friends can remain friends forever. Instead of concentrating on how many people know who you are or like you (a loose definition of popularity), concentrate on making true friends who like you for who you are and recognize the wonderful traits that make you unique.
See “The 411 on Friendships in Middle School” in Academic 411 for more on friendships versus popularity and how to recognize and make lasting friends.
Have a question for Paris? Use our submission form to get the advice you need.