It seems like everything is changing —your body, your hairstyle, and your taste in music. And now, just as you were finally feeling comfortable in your elementary school (after all, you and your friends owned the halls), that's changing, too! It's time to move on to that magical new place where you'll have your own locker and your own class schedule. There's a new sense of freedom in the air. You're starting middle school, and that's a good thing, right? Sort of a good thing...It's natural for you to feel a bit shaken by the prospect of starting middle school. New places are scary; even your mom and dad feel a little bit anxious when they start a new job or travel to a new city. Feeling nervous about leaving your old school is perfectly understandable. In fact, don't be surprised if you have bad dreams about getting lost in the halls or having no one to eat lunch with. And oh, what about those awful stories you've heard? Kids stuffed in lockers? Disgraceful acts taking place in the bathrooms? Suddenly you feel like you've stepped into one of those teen movies. You the ones where the cool kids cut off all the hair on the geeky girl in gym class? Only in your dreams, you're the geeky girl! know, Take a deep breath and relax. First, it's important to know that you're not alone. Everyone, we mean, everyone is nervous about starting middle school. Regardless of your group affiliation —whether you're a jock, a popular girl, a thespian, a troublemaker, a wannabee, a richie, a school leader or a middle-of-the-road good kid —you can be sure that your peers are shaking in their shoes as they board the bus on the first day (and second and third) of school. Adolescence is filled with new adventures; new schools and new friends are part of the ride! You can make your adventure less stressful by figuring out where you fit in. 1. Take a Look Around — Get a feel for who's who and what's what. Although you should be nice and courteous to everyone you meet, pay particular attention to those kids who may have similar interests as you. 2. Ask Questions — won't know the answer if you don't ask the questions! If you don't understand a homework assignment or you're not sure when drama sign-ups are, ask around. Believe it or not, most kids are willing to help (it makes them feel important, too), and you'll probably find you're not the only one who's a little confused. You 3. Participate — Try out for a team, audition for the school play or the chorus, or sign up to write for the school paper. Joining a club or intramural activity is the perfect way to find other people who share your enthusiasm, and a great way to make new friends when starting middle school. 4. Be Aware — know, there is some truth to those teen movies. There will always be the kids who want to find partners in crime, someone new to do drugs with or cut school with. Know who those kids are You —they're usually not too hard to find and then stay away! Getting mixed up with the wrong kids can leave you with a bad rep for a long time. 5. Be Patient — takes a while to get used to your new surroundings and to make new friends. Yet, you can bet that sometime in the near future, you'll be looking back and laughing with your friends about how strange starting middle school once felt. It Conquering new places is your job as a teen. New looks, new schools, new ideas are all in a day's work! Starting middle school? Get inspiring tips and read stories from teen girls at BeingGirl.com.