The time had finally arrived – the daunting transition from middle school into high school. A time in my life I remember so clearly. The weeks prior, fear and curiosities had started to creep into my mind about how the experiences of the next four years was going to go. Though I do not have any tips on how to ease the fear of this transition for everyone (as we will have a unique experiences), I share with you my journey and how I dealt with this transition. High school memories are said, after all, to be the ones we never forget, correct?

I remember sitting in my first ever high school class at Grand River Collegiate Institute. It was a geography class, but my mind was not thinking about geography. My mind was not in the classroom at all. Running through my mind was the thought of forgetting my locker combination, the thought of not being able to fit in or being picked on by students 3-4 years older than me. Everything at high school was bigger, right from the size of the desks in the classroom to the amount of homework I was getting every night. I was terrified.

This feeling consumed me daily. I was a nervous wreck day in and day out. I had to fix this or I was going to be a very sick kid by the time I graduated grade 12. So, I would eventually attack this problem the only way I knew how; the same way I had attacked almost every problem I had experienced in my life up to that point. I attacked it through sport.

It must have been two weeks into the school year and over the morning announcements I heard practices were starting for the cross-country team. After days of heavy debate with myself, I decided to head out to practice and join the team. Again, I was worried about being able to compete with the other athletes in practice and coming last place in races. Little did I know what was ahead.

After my first high school cross-country season in grade 9, I won a few local meets, each consisting of about one hundred athletes. I had also been crowned the midget WCSSAA cross-country champion, leading to an article in the local newspaper. I qualified as an individual for the OFSAA provincial high school championships to be held in Ottawa that year. Though the OFSAA experience did not go as planned, it left me hungry for more. This was the start of something special, as later that year I would join the track and field team and break school records that had been set years before my time in the 1500m and 3000m.

Most importantly, my fear of fitting in was erased through sport. I learned through getting involved with high school athletics that there is nothing to be afraid of at high school. Joining a high school sport gave me the opportunity to meet new friends and get to know many of my teachers/coaches on a personal level. This in turn, made school so much more enjoyable for me and made me feel a part of the school community. Many of the friendships I made then, I still have now. So, there it was, the fear was conquered. I highly recommend getting involved in high school, whether it be in sports, arts, school council, clubs or other interests. You won’t find out how great something is unless you take the chance. In the coming grade 11 and 12 years, this was the case for me. Things were about to get very interesting.

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