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The A-Z of Going Back to School
Learn these ABCs and school will be as easy as 1, 2, 3!

A = After-school Activities
Extra-curricular activities are great places to meet new people who share your interests—especially if you’re the only one in your barkada who likes to cook, plays an instrument or actually enjoys science. Aside from the social boost, the more time you spend on things that interest you, the less time you’ll waste on frivolous activites, like obsessing about whether your crush knows your name, or telling the umpteenth person about your nemesis’ horrible new hairdo. Can’t find a club that’s perfect for you? Start your own or look for clubs outside of school, in your community, at church, or online. You’ll be surprised at how many people care about the things you do. And you never know—what starts as something you do after school could turn into something you love enough to do for life!
B = Brown Bagging in Style
With the many classy (grown-up!) lunchboxes available, you won’t have to tote around a beat-up brown paper bag or suffer endless torment for bringing Barbie or the Powerpuff Girls to school. Another reason to brownbag it? Bringing your own baon means you control what you eat so you can be as health-conscious or gourmet as you want, plus you won’t be tempted by a last-minute lunch-line impulse to get the choco fudge cake that’s sitting enticingly by the cash register.

C = Cliques
Cliques have become a four-letter word—blame it on bad press. If you’re in a clique, you’re seen as the mean girls, the snooty girls, the popular but brainless girls. But you don’t have to be. Having a steady group of friends who are there for you no matter what is essential for getting through the sometimes soap operatic era of high school. It’s not belonging to a clique that’s wrong but being so exclusive that you alienate others just because they’re not “one of you.” Do you tease a classmate just ‘cause her opinion, style, or lifestyle is not the “group-approved” choice? Do you make all your decisions based on what your friends think? Can you have fun on your own, your own way? Remember, friendship doesn’t have membership requirements. If yours does, think twice about how much you’re willing to pay to get in.

D = Dividing the Work
Group projects can be great bonding experiences—having late night planning sessions over ice cream, discovering each other’s useful (and sometimes unusual) talents, organizing a “We rocked it!” after-party. More often, though, they become one person’s burden. To make sure the latter doesn’t happen, define each person’s role in the group and hold each other accountable. Take down contact numbers and don’t be afraid to bug members who’re slacking off—it’s not just their grade that’ll suffer. Don’t play martyr if your group isn’t cooperating, you’ll only feel resentful later on. Communicate—they may have a good reason for not being able to keep up with their part of the workload, and if they don’t, at least you’ll be able to let them know frankly that you don’t appreciate their behavior and that you won’t stand for being slave to their slacking, rather than grumbling about them behind their backs to group mates or your teacher.

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E = Electing Officials
Think of all the great things a good student body president could do: petition for a revamped gym or cleaner bathrooms, organize a fun fund-raising event (no more newspaper drives, please!), challenge teachers with unfair grading procedures, or be your voice in the administration and actually make change possible. Make your vote count, or maybe even run for office yourself!

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Shiloah Matic
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