First off, happy 18th birthday, Thomas Craig! Since this is my last tip day, I had to scrunch together both of these topics even though they kind of have nothing to do with each other. But I think they’re both important when in the search for a way to survive the awful experience that is high school.
I don’t know the ins and outs of your school’s extracurriculars, but I have an idea that they’ll be somewhat similar to my experiences.
SPEECH/DEBATE: loud, bitter, and nerdy kids. This club looks good on college applications, but requires a lot of commitment. Careful, in the speech portion of this club you might get an overlapping of theater kids, so if theater kids freak you out, be aware.
THEATER: Loud, dramatic kids who more than likely have egos the size of the moon*. This club also takes a lot of commitment, especially when you factor in set building, fund raising, rehearsals, and the actual performances.
ANIME: Unless you have a really tolerant, really artsy school, please don’t join this club, for the sake of surviving high school. It’s great that you like anime, but these clubs generally are looked down upon as the “weirdo gatherings” of the high school scene. If you really don’t care or if these people are your friends, you can join it I suppose, but be warned.
NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY: This club looks really awesome on college applications, and at least at my school, it doesn’t require a lot of commitment. Community service never hurt anyone.
NEWSPAPER/LITERARY MAGAZINE: If you like writing, then these are good clubs to at least check out, but beware the fine print: deadlines are stressful and everyone kind of loses their minds. In fact, the entire week leading up to a deadline is frantic.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE: (ex. Spanish club, French club, Russian club, etc) These look good on applications, and there’s usually an opportunity to go on summer trips, which is always a plus. I don’t really know much about the goings-on of these clubs, though.
SPORTS: If you want a community that most of your classmates won’t look down on, a sports team is a great place to meet people. Unfortunately, you’ll miss a lot of school.
BAND: Same as above.
Tips regarding clubs: Try and become an officer, even if it’s something lame like Treasurer or Historian. It all looks good on college applications.
And now, for your look:
Before anything else, I want to make something clear. The tips I have regarding how you should look during high school are specifically tailored for kids wanting to survive. And when I say survive, I mean blend in so that you get bullied minimally and people don’t constantly harass or look down on you. I know people, especially adults, like to preach “be yourself, express yourself”, but let’s be honest. High school is not about expressing yourself. The kids aren’t mature enough to handle that. High school is about keeping your head down and trying to avoid as much teasing and harassment as possible. So take these next tips with a grain of salt.
1. Gap and Old Navy are your friends. These two stores in particular are very good at something: keeping their clothes simple. They have hundreds of the same teeshirts in different colors. They have plain, uninteresting, but generally socially acceptable clothing. If you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, stay away from big, bold patterns. Stripes and plain colors are what I’d recommend.
(a) As for pants, again, keep it simple. Plain jeans, with no bedazzling. Bedazzling is not ok. Ever.
2. Unassuming hair/makeup. Don’t do anything crazy. No matter what you do with your above-the-neck look, make sure that its average and generally uninteresting. It’s ok to look nice, even pretty (or handsome, whatever), but if you want to avoid bullying, make sure the most immature of your class can’t find anything “weird” about it.
3. Make sure you’re comfortable. You’ll be sitting most of the day, so if jean shorts cut into your legs when you’re in a chair, leave them at home.
4. If you have PE at any time of the day, make sure to only wear easy-to-change-into clothes.** That means minimal accessories and shoes that are easy to take on and off. Also, please, ladies, no thongs. I really don’t want to see all that while we change. If you must, go into a bathroom stall.
Final thoughts about high school:
The entire purpose of this week is to teach you how to minimize the painfulness of this grueling, but necessary, period of your life. It’s not that I don’t want you to be original and be yourself, but I just want you to be aware of the fact that this time of your life is a lot easier if you don’t stand out too much. I used to stand out: my hair was everywhere it shouldn’t be, I wore clothes from old lady stores, I always sat front and center, and I thought “being myself” would make me friends.
Well, it didn’t. Instead, I spent ages 12-15 in an adolescent hell. I was the easy target. So I changed that. I started wearing clothes that looked normal and were on the whole fairly uninteresting. I paid attention to how to wear makeup so that I would be nice looking enough not to attract the majority of the “you’re ugly” taunts. I learned how to control my hair, although I’ll admit it will never be uninteresting. Maybe none of this particularly reflects my personality, but it made school a heck of a lot easier.
*Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not ragging on theater kids, or any other group of people in this post. I was a theater kid for a while. I’m just trying to be honest about the majority of people frequenting these clubs. These stereotypes certainly do not apply to everyone in these clubs.
**I like to call these “Superman clothes”, because Superman has to be able to change at a moment’s notice. TELL ME I’M CLEVER.