Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

Everyone gets lost, and other truths

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — You’re ready for teachers, you’re ready for books, you might even be ready for some dirty looks. But you still won’t be ready for the first day of high school.

As a recent freshman, one of the most vivid memories I have of high school so far is the day school started.

What’s really different in high school? Well, a lot.

Here are my tips for successfully adapting: your endurance, first of all, needs to be changed.

Going from 45 minutes of learning (or boredom, whichever you do most) to 84 minutes of it is a big difference. Getting out of that dreadful study hall (or other classes which will remain nameless) will seem like an eternity of nothingness at first.

The remedy: do something! Eighty four minutes tapping a pencil and daydreaming won’t help you get out of Boredomsville.

It might seem very unorthodox to a lot of you, but listening to what’s going on in class might actually save you from the boredom you’ll be experiencing. Just raise your hand, answer some questions and you won’t even know whether you were listening or not, and trust me, the time will go by in no time.

Either that, or you can take a nice power nap in class. I’ve heard it’s good for you. But the flip side is you won’t know anything for the quiz the next class. An F won’t kill you, but sleep deprivation will.

Next, you’ll need a good sense for directions. This only applies for the first few months at school.

This year, you might actually experience a school with rooms that are permanent, unlike your predecessors who had to deal with construction.

But still, getting lost on the first day is normal. Not one person will find their way totally around the school, not even the upperclassmen sometimes. Just make sure you find someone in your classes before that school bell rings, and make sure you guys follow each other to class for a few days. There’s safety in numbers.

Within a few weeks, though, make sure you know your way around or risk getting point deductions for being tardy.

If you thought your middle school class was different, wait until you enter high school.

Bristol isn’t known for its diversity but the high schools here have more races, religions and color than most schools.

Keep an open mind about stereotypes, though, and you might be surprised to find a different person than you imagined. Otherwise, don’t make fun. It’s not very nice. Let the upperclassmen pick on students. It hurts more when you’re getting made fun of by your peers anyway.

Of course, you can’t forget your schedule and classes.

As you probably already know, your freshman schedule contains four core classes, usually a foreign language, and then an elective class, whether it’s band or wood tech. Health and gym class can’t be avoided. This leaves you with room for a study hall, too, during any semester.

You’d think it would be as cut and dried as that, but block scheduling might leave you out of certain classes and put you in other ones that you might not want to be in.

As long as you get an elective you wouldn’t mind doing, and get all the required credits needed to advance to a sophomore, eventually, you’ll get the classes you want.

Don’t overburden yourself with too many classes. Make sure you have at least a fun elective that you enjoy doing or else you might not be having fun the whole year.

Well, you’re almost prepared to go on your way to high school. Take it from me, freshman year is fun, but it also has its downers. Just come to school prepared, and be sure to read The Tattoo.

Mike Nguyen is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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