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Words from the wise // Just be yourself

9TH GRADE

Just what exactly is it like to go from safe, secure middle school to a big, intimidating high school?

Well, for me, it was a little scary. I mean, I had been in private school all of my life, and I found the idea of going to a humongous high school where I knew no one pretty rough.

Now, maybe the rest of you who are reading this are just braver than me and wouldn't find it too bad, but the anticipation was just killing me. But, when that first day of school came, guess what? I loved it!

It was great to be in a place that had so many types of people that you could never be singled out. There was always someone who had the same interests as you and whom you could talk to. There really weren't kids who were "popular" or "unpopular"' because there were so many of them that they could be popular in their own circles.

That brings me to the second thing about high school I enjoyed that first year: there were so many new people.

Although I was kind of worried about going to a place where I knew no one, I started thinking about it and realized that everyone else had the same worry I did. So I just decided to be myself and to see where I fit in.

That's the great thing about beginning high school. You get to start over with a new group of people who haven't already prejudged you.

Now let me see if I can address all of the worries that might be bothering a prospective ninth- grader.

"How will I find my way around?" Well, the only advice I can give is you need to practice. If you do get lost, don't be afraid to ask for help. There will be a hundred other people just like you asking for directions.

"Is high school rougher than middle school was? Will I get beaten up every day and have my lunch money stolen?" Generally, if you look for trouble, you will find it. Try not to provoke anyone, but if you happen to and he is bigger than you, just avoid him.

"What will the teachers be like? Will they not care if I show up for class because the classes are so big?" I found that the teachers I had were great. They were interested in what I was doing outside of school, and if I had a problem with an assignment, they were willing to talk about it. Just don't be afraid to talk to them.

"Will the subjects be harder than in middle school? Will I have to take physics and calculus and biology?" Well, of course, the subjects are going to be harder. You're moving up in intelligence and your subjects have to keep pace with you.

I do have to warn you about some of the uglier things you will find while a freshman:

All of the other classes will treat you with utter contempt. They'll try to sell you elevator passes when your school doesn't have an elevator; they'll boo you at the assemblies and pep rallies; and they'll try to humiliate you in front of your peers.

But through all of this, just remember that in one year, you will be a sophomore, and then you can go and make fun of the lower classmen.

If any of you reading this are just trying to get the main points, here they are _ in less than 200 words!

1. Don't try hard to fit in by making as many friends as you can. If you're confident in yourself, then people will be trying to make friends with you.

2. Just be yourself. Don't try to act like certain people just because you want them to notice you.

3. Don't, whatever you do, be afraid to ask questions. Whether it be about a person, an assignment or a social function, ask about it if you have any questions at all.

4. And finally, the most important piece of advice that I can give you: Have fun. This is a chance to make friends you will have for years. Make sure you have a good time.

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