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Stuck in the Middle with You

by Janina Glasov

Dear Readers,

Have you ever noticed that when you tell your parents about a bad day at school they ALWAYS say, “Oh, those are the hardest years”? (I’ve heard rumors that parents go to a special school where they teach them these phrases.) But you’ll find that they’re right about this. Middle school can be rough.

3 friendsBefore I started this article, I did a survey. One hundred percent of the four people I asked told me that middle school was their hardest time. Maybe it’s because we’re all going through changes—emotional, mental, and…you know, the other thing. Your best friend might suddenly take on a whole new personality and a whole new group of friends. You might find other girls are developing quicker than you or that now you’re literally looking down your nose at the boys. Well, I’m here to help you through the rocky terrain: endless hallways, countless stairs, lame school dances, fights with friends, tests of valor, battles with dragons…what!? Anyway, welcome to middle school! Here are my rules for survival:

Rule #1 Speak up in class.

I came from an elementary school that no one had even heard of. I had to figure out how to stand out or spend the next three years being ignored. Even if you’re starting middle school with people you know, there will be kids from other schools that you don’t know yet—maybe a future soul mate or a best friend. But how will they notice you if you never show yourself? Even if you’re shy, go ahead, ask an interesting question, make a witty remark, or tell a funny story related to the class discussion. Make them notice you.

Rule #2 Don’t eat the cafeteria food.

Unless it’s pizza, don’t eat it unless you’re really brave. Maybe your school will have good food, but just in case, you should know that it’s not nerdy to bring a lunch from home. I do and my friends do, too.

Rule #3 Meet new people.

It’s good to make new friends. Smile at different people. Eat lunch at a new place. Stay in touch with your old friends, but don’t avoid new people just because you’re afraid of change. Your old friends will be finding their own path and so will you.

Rule #4 Be yourself.

Group of girls at schoolYou don’t need to make up stories to relate to people. If you have to lie about your past experiences, interests, goals, or anything, those probably aren’t the right people for you to hang out with. Chances are, at one point, you’d trip over your own lies anyway. So just be you.

There you have it, the basic rules for surviving middle school. Obviously, there’re so many others, but that’s neither here nor there (and I have a limited number of words to use in this article). Besides, I can’t lead you the whole way—I’d have no free time. Now, obviously, you’ll make mistakes. Everyone does. It’s like that Dixie Chicks song: “She needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes.” So don’t be afraid—it’ll turn out OK. Meanwhile, I have to get to school. Good luck! Always, Janina.

© 2004 New Moon® Publishing, New Moon®: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams, Duluth MN.



This article is from New Moon  , a magazine written for girls by girls. Here is a complete list of the New Moon articles on

Content last reviewed May 15, 2008
Page last updated October 31, 2013