Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

Brotherly words of wisdom

BURKE, Virginia, U.S.A. — Going into high school is a huge deal. The last eight years of education were pretty much all about preparing me for what’s to come in the next four years of my life.
Not only am I going to have to deal with seven classes at a time, but I’m also going to have clubs and stuff to join.
All of my past teachers and my mom have stressed that organization is the key to success. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard just to keep my papers neat and tidy and to remember where I put my homework, but for some reason, it’s not.
Every year since fifth grade I’ve gone into school with some big plan about how I’m going to stay on the right track. And every time it’s ended up falling apart by the end of the year.
My plan this year is to follow in my older brother’s footsteps. I mean, he managed to survive high school with good grades and he even made it into a top of the line college.
So, what was his secret to success?
As far as I can tell, it’s color-coding. At the beginning of the year, he would get one 1-inch binder for each subject, each a different color, get five matching dividers for each binder, and then get book covers of different colors for his books.
Heck, he even used color-coordinating pencils in the different subjects. That way, when he went to class he could take anything purple to Spanish, blue to English, and yellow to Social Studies. Hopefully this system will work for me and I’ll be able to stay organized this year.
Another part of going back to school that is kind of scary is clothes shopping. I recently went through all of my clothes and threw out all of the things that I outgrew over the year, leaving me with less than half of my wardrobe remaining. My mom, being a typical mother, will only let me buy clothes that are on sale with a limit of no more than four pieces at a time.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get enough clothes purchased by the time school starts to not have to wear the same shirts over and over.
I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about going to high school, and believe me, my friends’ older siblings aren’t helping much.
They talk about how much we’re going to be picked on, how often we’re going to get lost, and how much homework we’re going to have. None of them have anything good to say about high school, which really doesn’t help the experience very much.
When I asked my brother his top tips for becoming a freshman, this is what he said:
1. Organize your binders the way your teacher’s tell you at the beginning of the year and stick to it.
2. Get a map of the school and figure out where your classes are BEFORE the first day of school.
3. Do your homework — 30 percent of your grade is A LOT.
4. On the first day of school NEVER sit in the back. Sit as close to front and center as you can get. It gives the teacher a good impression.
5. Save all your work. If you do it on the computer, make a folder that you can put everything into.
6. Join clubs. It’s a great way to meet people who have similar interests.
7. Know your place. You’re a freshman and nobody older than you will care about you.
Hopefully his tips will help me get through high school, or at least the first week. Until then, all I can do is hope for the best.

Stacey Garrett is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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