As my experiences at North Attleboro High School are coming to a close, much of my time has been spent reflecting on my four years here. They have been red-tinted and quite the emotional roller coaster, and I have seen so many of my peers grow along with me. It is natural that I picked up a few tips along the way. For every rocketeer that I am leaving behind, and for every future one to come, here is the 411:
1. Always Walk On The Right Side Of The Hall.
There is one thing that the North Attleboro High population seems to struggle with, and that is the basic human concept of walking. The most effective walking experiences that I have had in these four years have been through halls where everyone stays to the right side of the hall. It’s streamlined, it’s efficient, and it prevents coffee spills (which we will follow up on later).
2. Never Make Eye Contact With The Hall Monitor.
No matter which teacher you pass in the hallway, your chances of being stopped increase with eye contact. A good rule of thumb might always be to carry a pass with you, but at the same time, you can avoid the awkwardness if you approach the situation with determination.
3. Yield For The Underclassmen Clusters.
Ah, the great virtue of finding somewhere to go in the morning before homeroom. It appears that the classes of 2017 and 2018 are the last, precious few that have grasped the concept of not crowding the halls. Do yourself a favor – locate a spot anywhere in the grand square footage of NAHS and pop a squat until the 7:10 bell rings – otherwise, you’ll be throwing elbows just to get through the hallways.
4. Stockpile School Supplies.
This one is obvious. For all of the wonderful students that North rolls out, we are not known for our bountiful school budget. Additionally, it appears juvenile to request that high school parents send in tissues and highlighters for the common good. Stockpile all of your school supplies, because our teachers cannot be counted on to have what you need – due, in part, to the klepto-compulsivity that has gripped every student that frequently steals teacher-provided pencils.
5. Don’t Fight The Librarian.
Mrs. McKamy has a reputation amongst the students for being extremely strict, but she is a simple sweetheart that has a thing for old actors and plaid skirts. Many fail to realize that our library has so many restrictions on who can come during their free periods because many of the students that come misuse the materials and make her job stressful. She’s a librarian, not a babysitter. Show her a picture of a fancy library some time, she’ll become your new best friend.
6. Just Listen To The Theatre Promotions.
We have all heard them, and we can all see them coming from a mile away. An inside exclusive with theatre performers has revealed that even they have qualms about the promotions over the announcements. However, the shows that they promote are nothing short of fabulous. Thus, it might do everyone a bit of good to spend a little less time griping about a two-second time slot of their day, and a little more time in the Judith E. Cobb theater in support of our always amazing theatre company.
7. Pay Your Class Dues.
This one is a shoutout to all of our student council reps that have tried in vain every single year to get people to pay their class dues on time. It does not matter how unnecessary you might think they are – ultimately, you need to pay them to go to prom and to graduate, and it is much nicer to only pay a little bit at a time, rather than finding yourself in the middle of senior year faced with a $50 bill because you did not care to pay them earlier.
8. Let’s. Get. A Little Bit Rowdy!
Seriously, show some school spirit. I too went through that wondrous phase of teen angst where I condemned the establishment and dubbed school spirit a social construct. However, it is so much nicer to be a part of something, and to feel like you belong to your community. Put on a little red and white. Cheer for your teams at their games. Embrace those Friday night lights.
9. Participate In Homecoming Week.
This emulates the same point made in Survival Tip #8. Sure, “USA day” might seem like a silly idea to you, but on a day where everyone looks ridiculous together, all eyes are on the people that don’t participate. Stylistic preferences aside, showing pride in your school is something that can bring people together. Homecoming week does just that – it brings everyone together for one celebratory week, so get on in there and earn yourself some participation points!
10. Bring A Sweater.
The central air conditioning system of NAHS has a horrible case of mood swings. Some rooms will be extremely humid, and others will be extremely frigid. To save yourself the inconvenience, always keep a sweater in your locker in case of AC emergencies.
11. Befriend Your Guidance Counselor.
During my junior year, I realized that guidance counselors write a letter of recommendation in the school report they send to colleges when you apply. For some schools, that may be the only letter of recommendation that they see. Therefore, I wanted mine to come from a genuine place, rather than appear so ostensibly generic that it was almost sad. Guidance has even said that they too often find themselves in a place where they simply don’t know the student. Getting to know your guidance counselor is an extremely rewarding experience.
12. Defend Your Coffee.
I said we would be getting around to this, didn’t I? In essence, your coffee is a tool that will get you through your long, arduous days. But, there will always be people that bump into you in the halls, and the first casualty is usually your coffee. Post 21-gun salute for the fallen soldier, you’ll be left with no fuel and a mess to clean up. Henceforth, defend that thing with your life.
13. Connect With Your Classmates.
Do not be afraid to reach out to your classmates! What I have come to see is a gradual dissolving of the cliques that defined my class in freshman and sophomore year. As high school progresses, students care less and less about who is friends with who and more and more about getting out of high school. That singular goal tends to unify people in a way that you would never imagine. So, my advice? Branch out. Talk to the people that you wouldn’t normally talk to. It can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
14. Don’t Count On The Wi-Fi.
Your home is where the Wi-Fi is strong. NAHS is where the Wi-Fi is weak. The perpetual threat of the NA guest Wi-Fi network being down is not a threat that is easy to carry every day. Frequent W-Fi users beware, you are not on smooth ground when it comes to school internet access.
15. Don’t Go Hard In Gym.
Even if you’re a student athlete, always chasing your dreams, always on ~that grind~, gym class is meant to be a class in which you learn the basics of exercise that will (hopefully) translate into happy, healthy NAHS alum. Relax, throw a Frisbee, hit a pickleball. If you’re red in the face and sweating bullets after a 45-minute period of gym, you have gone too hard.
16. Watch Out – Golf Cart Crossing!
Okay, so this might not be a problem that every student at North Attleboro High has been plagued with, but the infamous golf cart that buzzes around the fields during sports practices tends to catch one by surprise. In the words of William Shakespeare, “Though she be but little, she is fierce”. In short, look out for the mysterious golf cart, and don’t be afraid to use it as the butt of a few jokes. Walking around is so last season, haven’t you heard?
17. Get Involved.
One of the reasons why I will always feel connected to NAHS is because of the legacy I will leave in the clubs I have been involved in. I’m currently one of the two senior editors of the school’s literary magazine, Galadriel, and I am one of the two captains of the debate team. I feel completely tied to these clubs and the people I have come to know through them. The same goes for the spring track team, which has been one of the most amazing experiences of my high school career. Getting involved, however corny it may sound, is the best way to take control of your high school experience at North.
18. Challenge Yourself.
As I end my senior year, I have been asked many a time if I regret anything about high school. While it is generally wise to live with no regrets, the one thing I do regret is not challenging myself enough over the course of the past four years. If you have the choice to coast through a class or to put in a little more effort with a level up, choose to put in that effort. Working hard for your education is never something to be ashamed of, and it will teach you all of the amazing things that you are capable of.
Collaboration, hard work, accountability, independence, and respect. These are the core values that define each and every student at NAHS. They are the values that we are expected to abide by every day. I have seen these values expressed in almost every person that I go to school with. While many poke fun at the propaganda-esque core value signs that hang in every room, you can never go wrong by taking those values and living by them each day.
20. Dream Big.
How else to end an extremely nostalgic article than with an extremely corny message? It’s true- he students that North Attleboro High produces are some of the most talented people I have come to meet. We have amazing athletes, awe-inspiring artists, scholars in every subject, and the best musicians this side of the Mississippi. Whatever your niche is, and however you come to find your passions in the good ole Big Red, join them. Be one of them. One day, you will realize that you will always have a family with the people you connect with back home.