(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 21, 2000

Everyone gets lost, and other truths

By Mike Nguyen

The Tattoo

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

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

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. Iíve
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. Thereís 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 canít 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.

A quick list of DOs and DON'Ts for rising freshmen

Click here for list