Secondary school strugglers

This film was recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Starting secondary school can be tough, and everyone can find it difficult for lots of different reasons. Here, we look at four students who struggled at first but managed to turn it around.


“I was so excited to start secondary school, I thought: this is it. This is like a fresh start. Everything's gonna be great.”

Like lots of pupils who are about to start secondary school, Grace’s main emotion was excitement about what was coming up. That feeling didn’t last long though.

“In those first few weeks, the overwhelming feeling was just of being overwhelmed.”

“I saw everyone else making what looked to be perfect friendships and so I assumed that I was the one who just couldn't do it.”

Grace soon found a place where she could make those important friendships, but it took her a while.

“When I was in secondary school after school clubs were kind of like a running joke… I was like, ‘oh I'm not going to join any of them’. And then I did. And I've met through one of the choirs at my school, my closest friends now.”


“I started secondary school as a shy, awkward kid.”

For Logan, it took a while to make friends and settle in to his new school.

“Y'know I used to just stick to myself and stay quiet and get the work done and go home.”

But he soon found out that by talking to people with similar interests and putting himself out there he was able to make his time more enjoyable.

“You sit next to somebody you like or has the same interests and you can start talking to them.”

“Just talk to people because once you have friends, the whole day gets a lot easier.”


“I was really anxious, really shy.”

Just like Logan, Indie was worried about making friends and what other students might think of her.

“The thing that helped me was people starting to talk to me in drama and also me taking a risk and being in the school show, which helped me a lot.”

“Parts of school are going to be tricky for everyone and you can't avoid that. But if you do reach out to people and make friends or find a new hobby, you'll make it a lot easier.”


“Yeah, I was quite a quiet person who didn't tend to talk too much.”

For Jessie, a lot of her concerns were about being different because of her race and religion.

“So, like, for me going in being Sikh was kind of like: am I weird? Am I different? Should I even be here?”

Eventually, Jessie learnt to embrace those feelings, and it really helped her settle in.

“I felt isolated and different because I'm a different ethnicity. It's good to be different. I wouldn't be sad that you're different - you don't want to blend into the crowd.”

Letter to my younger self
8 things I wish I’d known before starting secondary school
Starting Secondary School homepage