Change is a word often muddled with connotations of apprehension, sometimes excitement, and definitely, the unknown. We are reminded of change as we breathe in the cool September air. We see it as the shadows become long while the sun sinks down a few minutes earlier than previous days. As Minnesotans, we know that our glorious summers make way for the last hoorah that is the autumn season (even if all we can think about is the loom of winter). The bells began to ring again, lockers received fresh decorations, and squeaky new shoes filled Concordia’s hallways— the school year has begun. Although change can be uncomfortable at times, it is during these times where we truly can experience life and growth.
Here are five tips for parents and students as you transition from middle school years into the high school experience.
- Take a deep breath. You’ll get used to the adjustment. Just as our bodies need time to get used to waking up (really) early, making long-lasting, meaningful friendships takes time.
- Ask a lot of questions. If you don’t know what time a sporting event is, ask! If you’re not sure of someone’s name, introduce yourself and meet a new friend. Inquiry is a great way to ease confusion and allow for a smooth transition.
- Get involved. Join a club, board, or athletic group. Attend parent conferences. Show up to school events and cheer on CA’s athletes! When you are involved, you will become invested—it is YOUR school.
- Develop the habit of putting forth effort. Sometimes the right thing to do is also the hard thing. Whether that is toughing it out as the homework starts to hit hard, or having hard conversations with your student, grit through it all. Your perseverance will not be in vain.
- Enjoy it. These years go by very quickly, but they will be impactful. This community of believers is special—our hope is not dependent on our circumstances. As we all transition into a new school year, our joy that is found in Christ will make it meaningful.
What a blessing it has been for me to watch my Freshmen Seminar classroom fill with students who are excited and perhaps a bit apprehensive about the transition from middle to high school. As we partner together this year, I would encourage you to consider these five tips. We are all in this season of change together! Blessings on you and your families as we walk through unknown and exciting new adventures.
Sarah Tramm, a 2009 Concordia Academy graduate, teaches Freshmen Seminar, a semester-long course designed to help students transition to high school, plan for the future, and develop their God-given strengths and talents.
Entering into a new season of life is always something that brings emotions out. A “new season” may be a new friend group, new spouse, new house, new school, or even a new family member. All of these life changes can make you feel scared, confused, joyful, or maybe even relieved.
Recently, I have experienced some major life changes. Earlier this year, I spent four months in Africa—completing the adoption of my son! Throughout my time in Africa, my emotions varied. Sometimes I felt happy. Other times, it was a feeling of exhaustion. And now, I feel relieved to have this adoption process complete and to have brought my little boy home!
Before I left for Africa, and also while I was there, I was in conversations with Pastor Berner, CA’s principal. He informed me that there was an opening for an Admissions Director at CA. I had heard such wonderful things about Concordia, so of course my emotions started to go a little crazy. The possibility intrigued me, but also worried me at the same time. My brain was telling me, “Absolutely don’t take this job! You are about to have two toddlers in your home (one who doesn’t speak English!). You have a career at another school. You also own a business on the side. How would you ever even handle all of this?”
I’m normally a fairly level-headed person and can make decisions quickly. But in this particular event, my brain and my heart were telling me two different things. I let my emotions take over and found myself mentally exhausted from trying to make the decision to come to CA. Finally, after a week or so of battling this in my head, I realized I needed to surrender my emotions to the Lord. If CA was the right place for me, I knew that God would help me get through this transition period and would keep not only my emotions stable, but also my family’s emotions.
I’m happy to say that ever since I let God take control of this area of my life, I have had a complete peace. The moment I walked into the doors of CA, I was greeted with a friendly smile by Lisa Sell. Her smile made me feel at ease, and I felt like I was walking into a place with people that I had known forever. I knew that this was the place for me. I finally felt that emotional peace that I was looking for.
My first few weeks at CA were filled with excitement, some exhaustion, and a little bit of anxiety. But as the days went by, I continually felt that overwhelming sense of calmness. CA is not only a place that strives to have academic and athletic excellence for its students, but I have quickly found that this place is full of people who truly care. They care about the legacy that CA is leaving. They care about the imprint they are making on your students. And they authentically care about sharing of love of Jesus and having compassion on others.
I feel so blessed to be able to step into this amazing environment, and I am excited to be a part of this wonderful team!