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Greendale Middle School, Greendale, Wisconsin

When switching to the next grade you pray that your friends are in your classes. Many students experience anxiety, especially when trying to make friends. Of course, I was one of them. 8th grade was a blessing in disguise for me as it taught me a great many things. 8th grade taught me to stay open minded, keep persevering, and to know that everything happens for a reason.

Right before the summer ended, I got my schedule for 8th grade. All of my close friends were in lower 8th grade and I was in upper; we wouldn’t have any classes together for the rest of the year! I was devastated by this news, and I even ate ice cream right out of the container. How could they do this to me? As if 8th grade wasn’t going to be difficult enough, I now had to do it without any friends. This would be as challenging as being on a sinking boat without a life jacket. Or at least that’s what I thought. 8th grade would turn out to be much better than I ever could’ve imagined.

Over the course of the first quarter, I began to make new friends and appreciate having new classes. Instead of seeing 8th grade as a chore, I saw it as a new start. I worked out a new schedule, new ways to stay on top of work, and enjoyed the chance to meet new people. It was like I had known these friends my entire life. Like my friend from Science who shared my love for questioning “common knowledge”. Or my friend from homebase who always stayed optimistic. Flash forward to the end of quarter one, I was saddened when I realized the school year was 25% done. From dreading a new year to dreading the end of it, I had a much different mindset to how I viewed school.

School is an opportunity to learn who you are as a person. My friends have taught me to be a better person. My teachers have given me new opportunities to learn. My parents have supported me throughout the course of 8th grade. Change is difficult, but so important. My peers have allowed me to grow in every way possible and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to grow. Remember to cherish your time and to stay optimistic when life throws a curveball.

© Julie. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.