Dear American Girl,

I'm starting seventh grade soon, and I am REALLY nervous. How should I act? Will I be able to make new friends? Can I handle even more homework? How can I calm my jitters about going to middle school?

Here's your advice:

Everyone worries about starting middle school. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself—you won't know what will happen until school starts. If a problem does come up after you start school, you'll always be able to talk to a teacher or a parent.
-Ella, age 11, Wisconsin

You probably have other friends who are starting seventh grade, too, so why not ask them to your house to talk about your nervousness? You can also agree to support each other as you start this new chapter in your lives.
-Alana, age 12, Georgia

When you start to feel middle-school jitters, picture something that makes you laugh or think about a nice memory from your summer. It'll help you relax and feel better.
-Megan, age 9, Ohio

The best advice I can give you is this: be yourself! I once tried being someone I wasn't, and it didn't work out at all. But then I realized that I needed to let my inner self shine, and that's when I made a lot of true friends.
-Madi, age 12, Indiana

Your worries are perfectly normal. It might help if you and a parent ask your teachers questions before the first day of school. If things don't seem so mysterious, you might feel more prepared.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Hawaii

I started at a new school and was very nervous, so my mom taught me a trick. The night before school starts, say to yourself right before you go to bed, Everything will be OK. Keep saying it until the message sinks in.
-Cami, age 10, Iowa

My advice is to concentrate mainly on your schoolwork for the first week. Then, when you feel more comfortable, sit with new people at lunch, compliment a girl in your class on her bracelet, or ask someone a homework question. These are good friendship starters.
-Erin, age 11, Michigan

I'm starting seventh grade, too. Earlier this summer, I was really nervous. But then I decided to look on the bright side. I'll have great new teachers, make lots of new friends, and learn new, interesting things. Focus on the positive and not the negative.
-Katherine, age 12, Massachusetts

Buy a fun new backpack, get school supplies that show off your personality, and decorate your locker. Those little reminders of your personal style might make you feel more confident.
-Allison, age 11, Missouri

Remember that everybody is just as nervous as you are. There is bound to be a girl who feels as you do and who is looking for a new friend.
-Amelia, age 13, Michigan

Talk to older siblings or friends who already have been in seventh grade. As older students, they might give you helpful tips and ideas for handling problems.
-Maria, age 12, Texas

Middle school might seem overwhelming at first, but soon it'll turn into your normal routine. You'll be making friends and handling your homework before you know it.
-Kasey, age 13, Vermont

To make new friends, you could sign up for an after-school club, a sports team, or another school activity. You could meet a lot of kids who have the same interests as you.
-Lynessa, age 11, New York

Ask yourself these questions: Did I complete first through sixth grades? Did I make friends? Did I finish all of my homework? If you got through all of those other grades, you are going to get through seventh grade. You can do it!
-Ellie, age 9, Utah

When I started middle school, I was incredibly nervous. I worried about every possible thing that could go wrong. Later I found out that all of this worrying benefited me in a way. Because I was so anxious that everything would be hard when I got to school, everything seemed really easy. Opening my locker was a breeze. Finding my classrooms wasn't a problem. Things probably won't be as scary as they seem to you right now. Just take a breath and go for it.
-Allison, age 12, Kansas

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