Advice for the First Day of School (or the Rest of Your Life)

For many kids in Seattle, today or tomorrow marks the first day of school. Inspired by the collective groan I thought I heard echo across the city this morning, I want to share some wisdom gained from my school days. You may find it holds water for more than just text-book-burdened texters.

1.  Don’t eat anything too rich in the morning. You will regret it almost immediately. Stick with the cereal-yogurt-fruit-granola family. If you must drink caffeine, let it be coffee and nothing that advertises via custom-painted Priuses or tour buses.

2. Put your electronic devices away (except graphing calculators, the Fairy Godmothers of math). Soon enough, someone called a “boss” will force you to stare at a screen for upwards of 50 hours per week – and then you will need nerdy glasses (which, by that time, won’t be cool anymore because Tina Fey will have become a scary genius-recluse living somewhere in the Alleghenies).

3. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to all of your classmates. Enjoy this limited window of existence where you can share a common goal with a diverse group of people outside of waiting in the returns line at Best Buy or commenting angrily on blog posts.

4. Try not to spend more money on one outfit than a small family spends on a month's worth of groceries. You need something to work up to later in life! Dorky outfits you wore in high school will evolve into very necessary conversation fodder at your wedding rehearsal dinner. Do not deprive your future relatives of this. Trust me, it will be awkward.

5. Remember that most things worth doing in life don’t involve texting before, during or after they occur.

6. Don’t sit next to the same people every day of the first week. Keep your options open.

7. Don’t be mean.

8. Seriously, don’t be mean.

9. Pay attention and enjoy yourself. This will all be over faster than you can say “statement of purpose” – and then you won’t be a student anymore; you’ll be unemployed.*

*Unless you can afford to go to college, in which case: see number 1.

Disclaimer: none of this advice guarantees or really even considers popularity. If you have advice for how to become popular, please tell me.


This post has been edited since its orginal publication.