It's ok to ...
Learn to say "No". And practise it. This is especially true if you're just starting secondary school, where you'll suddenly have lots more choices to make. People will want you to do things you shouldn't, like take on extra duties. It's never easy saying no; when you're under pressure, it's even harder. Say it out loud now, so when you need to use it, it won't be so awkward.
Don't clique out
It can be hard but one of the things that helped me most when I was in school was never staying in one particular clique. Of course I had my group of friends who I was closest to, but I also knew people outside that group: the jocks, the geeks, the girls, etc. At secondary school especially, you can't guarantee you'll be in classes with your posse, so try to be friends with as many people as you can. You never know when your future best friend may enter your life.
I know this sounds like a government advert, but say no to drugs! If your friends think it's cool to use, or offer you illegal substances, they don't deserve to be your friends in the first place.
New pens = happy you
My best advice for going back to school is to go out and buy new stationery. Nothing used to get me back in the mood for school more than the smell of a new pencil case. Picking out new, funky, colourful stationery is not only fun, but it also helps to get you organised, making you feel super prepared to take on a new school year!
Dos and don'ts
Don't pop your collar, don't sag your bag, don't sag your pants, change your email address to one with your name in it (ditch ko0l_b0i@ and thug4life@), don't play the Football Manager series, don't smoke - you won't look cool; if you're in the final years of school, you'll be stressed, so get organised and review your notes from day one. Oh, and join Reporters' Club and read Young Post!
Be nice to the new kid
Starting a new school is never easy, and it's especially tough if you're the only new student in a class. Rather than assuming someone else will take care of them, say hi, offer to show them around, make space for them at your lunch table, and exchange phone numbers. You don't have to be best friends - you might not even hang out after their first few days - but being a friendly face, and letting them know they're going to be OK, will make a world of difference. What's more, kindness to strangers earns major karma points.
Make the most of easy days
The first few days of school are often only half days, so make the most of this spare time. Pick up any textbooks you failed to buy over the summer, and research extra lessons by talking to people who have taken them or give them - it's never too early to start planning. And if you haven't finished your summer assignments, hurry up!