DEAR GRANDDADDY- A Teen, Parent, and Educator Advice Column BLOG #43

Dear Granddaddy, do you have any advice for a brand new freshman who is back at the bottom again? Damitrus- 9th grader

Bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV host.


 Damitrus, first let me begin by saying that I’m pretty impressed with you and your humble nature. I’m glad you had the courage to take the initiative to reach out to me as a humble learner, rather than just walking into your new high school like you’re entitled to own it because you were a big 8th grader last year.

So, my advice to you would be for you to stay in the humble learner mode and to work your butt off in all of your classes. Also, it’s imperative that you work on your social-emotional learning.

Smile a lot, buddy. Talk to people you don’t know yet, adults included. Don’t be afraid to speak up in class. Don’t be scared to get to know your teacher. Trying to stay off the radar with authority figures is NOT a good habit to learn or reinforce in high school. Instead, force yourself to approach authority figures and get to know them as people. Learn how to put yourself at ease when talking to adults and all those years ahead of you in the work world dealing with bosses will be exponentially easier.

Get involved in extra-curricular activities at your new high school. Damitrus, extra-curricular activities are a great way to make new life-long friends, have fun, and do something that is demanding and hard where you throw 100% of yourself into it.

Finally, believe in yourself and believe that everything is going to turn out okay. Someday, you’ll be back on top as a 12th grader, and maybe when that happens, you can find it in yourself to help out the new 9th graders who are feeling a bit uneasy. Oh, yeah, and please realize that high school isn’t the end of the road for your education, but rather just the beginning of your life-long learning journey. So, let’s get started on that journey right now as an optimistic 9th grader who has the whole world ahead of him.

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Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: