This section has some helpful tips from older students. They’ve all been there before and have probably experienced a lot of the feelings you’re having now. We’ve put together some of their advice for you as you start on this new and exciting chapter of your school life.
Don’t expect to remember it all at once, or to know everything on the first day. Everyone was a first year once, and nobody knows it all at the start.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are lost. Everybody will be friendly and helpful to the new students!
Have a good idea of your timetable each day. You don’t need to learn it by heart, but check where you need to go before each class ends so you’re not stopping in the hall.
If you do forget a copy or a book, always ask the teacher if you can go get it at the start of class. Teachers don’t really mind if it happens every now and then – just try not to make a habit of it.
Try not to stop in the middle of the busy hallway to chat to a friend or check where your next class is – you may be holding up other students, including leaving or junior certs, from getting to class on time.
Don’t be too late or too early – don’t be there before the school opens and no one is there to let you in, but don’t show up for your first class right when the bell rings. You’ll feel more relaxed about your day if you allow yourself some time to settle in before class starts.
Respect your classmates and teachers. If you don’t enjoy a subject, try to bear with it – you may come to like it in time. Students who disrupt the class because they’re bored can ruin the atmosphere for everyone.
Subjects were the exciting part of secondary school for me. New subjects like science, woodwork, technology, home economics, art – you will have a chance to try them all out, and then you get to choose which ones you want to carry to Junior Cycle.
School can be tiring so don’t let it catch up on you too much – remember to enjoy it too.
Use your journal! Write everything down that you need to remember – even the things you think you won’t forget.
Do your homework as soon as possible when you get it.
Set up a peaceful and tidy space in your home where you can do your homework.
If you forget to write down what homework you have, or leave a book or copy at school, don’t stress – you can ask a friend to send a picture of the homework.
When you start secondary school, chances are you’ll be put in different classes to some of your old school friends. You’ll still see them at breaks though, and you’ll make new friends very quickly.
Keep in touch with friends that go to different schools. It’s good to have a circle outside school with people who have different interests and experiences.
You might even like to join clubs during lunch or after school. Some schools have really good clubs, which can help you get to know other students in your year or other years.
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone – try a sport, subject, or activity that you wouldn’t normally do. You’ll be surprised where it might take you!
You don’t need to bring a schoolbag around with you all day. Grab only the books that you need for the classes you have in each block – you can always go back and get them from your bag or locker later.
Always know when you have P.E., or when projects are due. You might find it handy to have a reminder in your phone and write it in your journal.
Make sure you have all your stationery supplies before school starts. Get the basics like pens, pencils, rubbers, glue stick, ruler, scissors, colouring pencils, calculator and a maths set. Some teachers request specific stationery, but they’ll tell you this when you start.
Have your schoolbag ready each evening when you’ve finished your homework, and leave it at the door so you don’t have to rush around in the morning trying to organise it. This also goes for any extra gear you need for the next day.
Make sure you have the correct uniform ready the night before.
Organise a white board or a weekly planner for your work space at home. Each day note down what books you need, which books you can leave in your locker, and any extra gear you might need for sports or for subjects like home economics or art. Plan your homework around any matches, TV shows or outings you might have.