GUEST POST - Tamsin Winter discusses her tips to surviving secondary school...

Hi Everyone, it's a new term, a lot of us are returning to work like me as librarian or a teacher and some of you are heading back to school. Some of you are heading back for GCSE year, starting college of Sixth Form, going to University or could you be starting that journey from scratch with your first year in secondary school.

There are a lot of books in Teen and YA that really captures a teenagers life, through school, family, friendships, and social media. So this month I've got some of my favourite authors that really talk about all aspects of school, life as a teenager, pressures and today begins that journey with the lovely Tamsin Winter who has written her top tips for surviving school. These are rules to live by I think.

Her debut novel came out last year, Being Miss Nobody and here is a little bit more about it.

Eleven-year-old Rosalind is mortifyingly shy and cannot speak at all, well, not in front of anyone at school.

Her classmates CALL HER weird and she becomes the perfect target for bullying - someone who cannot fight back.

So, Rosalind starts Miss Nobody - an anonymous blog to expose the bullies at her school.

But, as her blog starts trending, things begin to spiral out of control. There is only one thing Rosalind has to do - speak up.

But how do you do that when you can't actually speak?

Starting a new secondary school: my best tips to help you boss it 

1. Get Organised. Starting a new school is THE best excuse to buy a load of new stationery. Don’t worry about what pencil case or bag or everyone else might have – choose the stuff that makes you happy. Being prepared for a new term by having all the right equipment is majorly dorky, and that is a GOOD thing. 
2. Good Friendships Take Time. Some people seem to befriend everybody within about three seconds of meeting them. Most people’s friendships take a bit longer than this. Don’t worry if you haven’t made a new best friend in the first week. You will likely be with these people for FIVE YEARS. It’s okay to take time getting to know them. 
3. Take A Photo Of Your Timetable. Because you will lose it. 

4. Join A Club. Clubs can be a brilliant way of meeting people with the same interests as you, and people who you might not come across in your usual school day. Most schools have an extensive programme of lunchtime and after-school clubs, ranging from Book Club (I strongly recommend) to Boxercise (I did this once and afterwards could not move my arms). Clubs are great for socialising, learning new skills or even just avoiding the crowds. 

5. DO NOT GET A PERM. I literally did this the week before I started secondary school in 1990 and I have regretted it ever since. 

6. Find The Library. Then Visit It A lot. One of the best things you can do with your school days is to spend it reading books. It’s one of the few times in your life when you have a library on your doorstep, so make the most of it. Also, it will make your new English teacher very happy. And that can only be a good thing. 
7. Be Yourself. The pressure to be like everybody else when you start secondary school is IMMENSE. I spent almost so many years pretending I liked stuff just because everyone else did. I wish somebody had told me at the time that it is okay to not be into the same stuff as your classmates. The right friends won’t expect you to be a carbon copy of them. 
8. Tell Someone If Something’s Wrong. It can be really hard to ask for help when you’re at a new school. Sometimes, you might not know who to ask. But if something is wrong, tell someone. Your form tutor is a good place to start. If they seem busy photocopying or something, don’t worry. That’s just start-of-term normalness, believe me. I’ve never met a teacher who was too busy to help a young person in need. It’s literally their job. 

9. Report Bullying. Unfortunately, some people will tell you bullying is just a normal part of school life, and not to worry about it. This is the biggest lie ever. Bullying is not acceptable. It should not be a normal part of someone’s life. And it should not go unreported. If you experience it yourself, or if you see it happening to someone else, report it. IRL and online. You could be saving a life. 

10. Be Kind. If there was only one piece of advice I could give you about starting secondary school, this is it: be kind to people. It’s just about the greatest thing you can be.

Thank you so much to the lovely Tamsin for guest blogging on here. These are certainly tips to live by. 

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