We all have been nervous and have panicked right before the first week of a new school. Middle school is full of experiences, challenges and sometimes hard work. Being the youngest grade in middle school is not as bad as some people say it is. The older grades may treat you as an underdog and ignore you, but never be upset about that because you are just as important as them. These years will be memorable just like high school and college because you will have new experiences, meet new people, and change classes. Don’t worry, there are people in your new school just as nervous as you. Read these tips — they once helped me.

n Join activities at your school. Join a club that interests you and become friends with people in the club.

n The best gifts you can give your new friends are loyalty, respect, trust and honesty. They mean more than material things.

n Do not lie about yourself; be proud of who you are. Real friends like the truth. You don’t want to lie to your future friends about your life, hobbies or family because it may come back to haunt you. It’s important to find friends you don’t have to impress.

n Be nice and open. When making friends, show you care by listening. You can show interest by looking at them in the face and not in other directions and by asking questions.

n Don’t talk about yourself too much. Remember, the other person’s voice is just as important as yours.

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n Be positive. People like to be around someone who doesn’t have a negative attitude or complains about everything. When you are positive you offer your friend encouragement.

n Be supportive. You want to support your friend in everything positive they do. People need reassurance when they feel down or discouraged.

n Be respectful and mindful of people’s beliefs and differences. Everyone has her own opinion of the world and everyone believes in different things. It’s beneficial to have different friends with different opinions because you can each voice your own.

n Everyone doesn’t have to be your friend. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s OK.

n Cliques can hurt. We all have been excluded from something in our lives and it hurts our feelings. Be considerate of the people around you. If you see someone sitting alone it would be a nice gesture to invite them to hang out with you.