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September 14, 2009 - Volume 16, Number 2


The final countdown

Eugenia Durante in GENOA, Italy: Here I am at last. My last year at high school has come. 
The enormous and terrifying final exam, the one that in Italy is called the “Exam of Maturity,” is waiting for me. 
I’m getting ready for the official first day of school, arranging the new books, selling the old ones, and desperately trying to put in my mind all the things I should have studied during summer while enjoying the last days of freedom.

And if possible, I’m trying not to panic. After this year, it will be me versus the world – university, another city, lots of exams and then finding a job. 
But now I have to face the worst enemy of all students all over the world: the final exam. 

Start preparing for college as a freshman

Jenna Potter in MANOTICK, Ontario, Canada: Preparing for college doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process, no matter what the procrastinators say.

The key to avoiding those sleepless nights and caffeine-high all-nighters is to be one step ahead of the game – by starting in your freshman year of high school.

Take small steps every day from that first year on and you’ll be able to enjoy your senior year while everyone else is cramming in their rushed essays and barely meeting deadlines. FULL ARTICLE

The best thing you can do in high school?

Join Youth Journalism International -- it's free! -- and make your voice heard around the world.

How to succeed in art class

Caroline Nelissen in ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands: Sitting alone at lunch, falling down the stairs, getting lost. When entering high school as a freshman, these will be just a few of the thousand worries going through your mind.

The first couple of days, you probably won’t have a mind lucid enough to be concerned about something as secondary as the actual classes, let alone that you’ll even start to think about art classes as an obstacle.

Well, you may want to think again when you’re desperately trying to keep your hopelessly deformed clay figurine from collapsing. FULL ARTICLE

Finding your place...

Janani Ramachandran in BANGALORE, India: High school can undoubtedly be a daunting place. Amidst a sea of hundreds or thousands of students, in a brand new school, in a flood of academic rigor, social pressure, and so much more, finding one’s individuality is often difficult.

Although I am now a senior in high school, confident and happy where I am, it takes time to find your niche, your space where you can truly shine.

Everybody, absolutely everyone, has talents. FULL ARTICLE


By Senior Cartoonist Justin Skaradosky/

Bicycles at a Dutch high school

One of the places that students park their bicycles during the day at a high school in the Netherlands. Young people cannot drive until they are 18 there.

Carolina Nelissen/

Starting senior year


Gokce Yurekli in EDISON, New Jersey, U.S.A.: So it begins.

I’m a high school senior in the great state of New Jersey, US of A. Surely starting off my last year with gloomy skies and undesirable winds was not very pleasant, but I was glad to be back.  FULL ARTICLE

Click the photo above for a decade's worth of good advice about surviving high school.


Welcome to high school

Nicole Megan Gounder in Merebank, Durban, South Africa: No matter how old we get in life, forgetting your first day at high school is almost impossible.

Remember the butterflies in your chest, the thrills, and constantly wondering if you’re going to fit in or not?  FULL ARTICLE


Surviving high school - Australian style

Tasman Anderson in BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia: High school will always be tough for new students, no matter where in the world they may live. But it doesn’t always have to stay that way; there are things that they can do that will help make their first year in high school a little less uncomfortable. FULL ARTICLE

One of the tiny lockers at Christelijk College Nassau-Veluwe in Harderwijk, The Netherlands

Photo by Caroline Nelissen/

First day of high school turned out fine

Luke Pearson in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.A.: As I woke up early last Tuesday, it was just a usual September morning, with the sun glistening and the birds chirping.

Then one of the scariest thoughts hit me like a hammer – it was my first day of high school!

At first I was so scared and apprehensive that I felt sick. FULL ARTICLE

Getting through the deadly first week

Brice Birdsall in PORTLAND, Oregon, U.S.A.: As a freshman, so many things ran through my mind the night before school started.

Where would my locker be? Would I like my schedule? What if I got lost? I guess everyone has those fears or similar ones going to a new school, right?

Anyway, the next morning I couldn't wait to get to school and see all of my old friends. Since it was Freshman Assurance Day, I wasn’t too worried. Everything went according to plan and soon it was the end of the day and all of my questions were answered.

That night I realized that the second day of school wouldn’t be anything like the first!

Everyone – not just the freshmen – would be there and I would be lost in a crowd of ginormous teenagers.

I had no idea how to prepare for that, so I made a game plan. FULL ARTICLE

Break the junior year curse!


Jacqueline Mejia in WOODSIDE, New York, U.S.A.: Advice for freshmen is great, but what about help for juniors?

Junior year is supposed to be the most important and most stressful, so it’s only fitting that it deserves the most attention. FULL ARTICLE


First-day sign on the TV screens at Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Photo by Mary Majerus-Collins/



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