Advice / all

“I’ve learned in the last three years that life takes you on an unexpected journey and you have to be open minded and think outside the box,” says VOX ATL’s Jennie Matos. “Try to go with the flow a little bit more because sometimes it might work in your favor.”

Art by Jennie Matos

VOX 5: Five Things I Learned in Middle School

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The feeling of going to middle school is like an emotional roller coaster of its own. It can be either extremely exciting, or extremely terrifying. But, you can’t let these three years scare you. So, as my middle school years begin to come to a close, I am here to give you five pieces of advice to help you survive middle school.

Destroy the box

I tend to be the type of person who likes things to go exactly as I want them to. But, I’ve learned in the last three years that life takes you on an unexpected journey and you have to be open minded and think outside the box. Try to go with the flow a little bit more because sometimes it might work in your favor.

Seasons come and go and that’s OK

There’s a quote that says “everyone that goes with you, can’t come with you” and middle school has taught me that this quote is couldn’t be anymore true. I started sixth grade with a group of friends that I thought would be with me every single step throughout this crazy road, but then I discovered the harsh reality that these people weren’t going to be there with me and that this season had come to an end. To sixth grade me, this felt like a giant punch to the face and I felt lonely and helpless. But, I soon realized that I had true friends and I made more new friends that I still have to this day. Friends came and went, but the true ones remained. 

You don’t have to fit in a group

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As humans, we all have this constant need to fit into something. In middle school, it always felt like I needed to be in some sort of clique or group to feel safe. But, I learned that there’s no need to fit into a group of people to be accepted. You can’t fit yourself into a box or a label because we simply were not made to fit into just one category. I always wanted to be in a group. I didn’t care what group it was, just some sort of group. But, I made friends naturally and we fit don’t fit into a group. We are all over the place and that was fine with me.

“The Invisible Audience” doesn’t exist

For some odd reason, I always felt like someone was watching my every move at school everyday. I thought that if I wore my hair in a certain style or wore that pair of shoes, someone would immediately make fun of them or make fun of me. But, the truth was that no one was even paying attention to me. Sure, I would get the occasional snarky comment from an annoying person playing it off for laughs, but not to the level like I expected. I realized that this bullying I expected was all inside my head. 

Focus on your grades, but not to the point where you’re not OK

Bad grades. It’s the universal fear of all teenagers. It’s definitely one of my biggest fears along with spiders and heights. In middle school, it seems like the only thing you need to survive is good grades and this is true, but you and your mental health comes before anything. For example, if you have a big test tomorrow, then you should study the night before. But, you should not study until 3 a.m. in the morning. It seems like the pressure is on you to get the best grades from everyone, but everything can be done in moderation to achieve your goals and to stay mentally healthy.

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comments (5)

  1. William

    Congrats to a wonderful daughter and Thank You to Vox for your outstanding service to our youth and nurturing Jennie.♥️♥️

  2. Mikayla

    THIS IS SO GOOD!!! Yay Jennie!!!

  3. Sonia Perez

    Wow! Beautifully written Jennie. Congratulations.

  4. Regina R. Nicholson

    Great article! Wonderful young writer! Jennie, wishing you much continued success and blessings!

  5. Marjorie Kimbrough

    Great insight, Jennie!