Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

Lunchtime: claim your table and save me a seat

(Gauri Nema/YJI)

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Several hours into the freshmen year, you’re sitting there gazing hopelessly at the sluggish clock as it ticks and tocks. Finally the lunch bell rings. Jumping out of your seat, you dash down the halls and enter a french fry-scented cafeteria.

Your stomach is growling and ready for some food, but the problem is: where do you sit?

Lunch is supposed to be a time of relaxation, a break for students who are exhausted and stressed from long hours of boring lectures and tedious note taking.

But the first day of lunch may be a bit of a hassle for freshmen. Seniors, juniors, and sophomores have already formed their group of friends.

They know where to sit and not to sit or who to sit next to or not to sit next to. Freshmen will have some difficulty finding a place to settle down their first day.

Cliques exist in high school, and they’re very obvious in the lunchroom.

Jocks huddle together talking Monday Night Football and game plays at one table. Cheerleaders giggle and laugh about their social life while planning their next routine. Rockers wearing concert shirts gather with their guitars and drumsticks, conversing about the latest music trends.

Where do you fit in?

Don’t waste your time trying to ask the captain of the school’s football team if you could sit next to him because most of the time the situation will become totally humiliating and life scarring.

It’s more likely one or more of your buddies from middle school will have the same lunch period as you. Find some familiar faces and hurry to the closest empty table. Sit your rear end down and chow down on your grub before it turns cold.

Hurry up and take a chomp of that chicken patty (wondering, is it really chicken?) and that luscious chocolate milk (you got to love that SuperCow) before time runs out and you’ll be forced to return to more grueling hours of fast-talking and work-crazy teachers.

At lunch, talk about how you got lost and walked into the wrong classroom or laugh at how you fell while climbing up the stairs to class. Just chill out and chat with your friends.

Take the toothpick from your pre-made turkey grinder and stick it in the gum on your lunch table. Declare it your territory, mark your boundaries with your mayonnaise packet, and make it your own because many of your high school memories will begin here.

High school is a whole different environment. If you thought middle school was bad, high school takes bad to another level. Social life begins to interfere with school life, homework loads increase, and exams require more than a study cram in homeroom in order to pass.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to have some fun in extracurricular activities and make new friends. At the same time you’ll meet snobby punks, scary personalities, and the occasional militant physical education teachers. (“Get down and give me 20!”)

Hey, that’s the beauty of the high school experience. As time passes, it’ll somehow grow on you.

Joe Keo is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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