Q:

Just a few weeks ago, our outgoing daughter was so happy about starting high school. Now she is finding that it is not at all like what she expected. The school is very large, so she rarely sees her friends, and she seems to be drowning in homework. How can we help her adjust? - Baffled Parents

A:

The first few weeks of high school can feel scary for even the most confident teenagers. It is not easy going from being the oldest at a familiar school to being the youngest at a new school where you haven't learned exactly how things work. It's rather like changing jobs. If your daughter was a confident, successful student at her previous school, expect her to feel more at home in high school in a few weeks.

Encourage your daughter to discuss her new experiences with her friends. If she doesn't see them during the day, suggest that she call them. Just sharing experiences with each other should help. Be willing to take them to school events, from games to school plays, so that they can begin to feel more like a part of the new school.

Your daughter might need some help from you and her teachers in learning how to handle her homework. However, there is also the possibility that her course load is so heavy that it does require an excessive amount of homework. If this is the case, she should immediately investigate the possibility of revising her schedule with her counselor.

We have spoken to several high-school students about what they think students need to do to get off to a good start. Here are their suggestions:

* Don't make big decisions too quickly. Take time to think them over. - Mark

* Teachers really are willing to help you, but you usually have to ask for help. - Maggie

* Get involved in some kind of activity as soon as possible! Be on a high-school sports team or a club starting in the fall so you don't waste any time getting yourself into the groove and making new friends. - Kate

* In my freshman year, I decided to take honors biology, English and algebra 2 and had so much homework I was staying up until after midnight to get it done. Had I taken it a little easier, my first year in high school would have been a lot more pleasant. - Jason

* Grades do matter down the line. Try to do as well as you can in all your classes. - Ashley

* It is very important to get in with a crowd of friends who have the same values that you do. There are so many opportunities to go in the wrong direction. You need to be with people you can trust to make the same choices that you would. - Amy

* Think about the friends you have. Are they true friends who will be supportive and not talk to others behind your back? - Rene.

* Expect a lot of challenges. - George