Out of freaking nowhere, September is here once again. If you’re one of the lucky ones who are already done with school September should be just another month in your life when you accomplish nothing. However, thanks to the illegal key-logging Trojan you all got from accessing the main page, I know that many of our readers are actually still in high school and that, same as I did in the past, they dread the beginning of the school year. Well kiddos, no need to worry, because I am here with a guide that will help you survive the upcoming 10 months. The secret? Think of HS as if it were a prison.
Right? When you were in elementary school the people around you were happier, friendlier and generally more human like. College/uni will basically be more of the same. But high school? It’s a surreal place governed by its own inhumane rules where nothing you do has any real value in the outside world and where the only sane thing to do is keep quiet and count the days till your release. So yeah, it’s basically prison without all the forced sex. That is why, for the purpose of this guide, I actually turned to a former inmate and my neighbor, who we will call Mister S (I am totally serious btw). Now, Mr. S has spent 5 years total at the Wadowice Correctional Facility in southern Poland for (repeated) assault and robbery, so naturally he’s the best possible authority on teenagers that I could find. Together, we came up with the following advice:
1. Get into a gang
Mr. S says: You will need friends on the inside. You will never survive alone, trust me. Just pick any group (it rarely matters) and do everything they want until they let you roll with them. During my first time I joined the kitchen staff “gang,” doing all of their work for them for like two months until they accepted me as one of their own. Then I was protected. The second time around I ran with the prison bookies, working as their muscle. Anything was fine, as long as I wasn’t completely on my own.
What does it mean to you: Find your clique. Stoners, metalheads, the AV club, whatever. Just don’t roam the hallways alone with your head down – this screams TARGET louder than coming to class with fake Spock ears and a Harry Potter scarf. Not saying that being in a group will automatically protect you from torment, but at least you will have something to do during recess and friends to confide to whenever someone dunks your head in the toilet.
2. Don’t bring attention to yourself
Mr. S says: You know how in the movies they always tell you to go after the biggest, meanest guy in prison, to show everyone how crazy you are? BULLSH-T. Chances are the biggest man in prison is heavily protected, often even running his own crew. Don’t f**k with him or 20 other guys will f**k with you. What you want to do is to totally disappear. Don’t be seen, don’t do anything crazy, just continue whatever it is your group is doing and don’t bring attention to yourself if you want to do your time in peace.
What does it mean to you: Whatever clique you join with, don’t be the center of attention. If your group fancies smoking pot in the 2nd floor bathroom at least try to not get caught OK? Yeah, the entire school might know who exactly does what in there, but they don’t know YOU personally. If you’re a metalhead/goth, don’t come to school 30 pounds of chains draped around yourself. If you run with the school’s geek squad, for God’s sake don’t play with your anatomically-correct Kirk doll where everyone can see you. Enjoy yourself if you must but do it far away from people who need any excuse to ruin your sh-t.
3. Don’t try to make friends with the guards
Mr. S says: The prison guards can make life a little easier for you, true, but if even one person decides you got way too friendly with them and spreads a rumor about you, then wham, it’s all over. Usually with a pipe to the face. Other inmates are the people you will spend most of your time with and when you get down to it, the prison guards can’t f**k you up the same ways these guys can. Don’t get too close to the guards.
What does it mean to you: The teachers are rarely your friends. Look, I don’t know what you’ve heard but teachers do not make a lot of money while performing jobs of glorified baby sitters and automatons regurgitating the same factoids over and over again. They are not paid enough to care about you personally and in most can’t really help you with anything. You want to survive school but come out of it with good grades for college? Do your workload, don’t bother the teach too much, score good on tests and you will usually get what you want. Friendly up to them and you will usually get a fist full of pain to the abdomen.
4. Bulk up while you’re there
Mr. S says: When I first went to prison, I was a scrawny little f**k. If I wasn’t in the kitchen staff crew I would have been a prime target for some of the inmates there. I just stood out too much. Everyone there was working out like each rep shortened their sentence by a year. So I started working out anytime I could. Sit ups, crunches, pushups etc. Pretty soon, I looked like everyone else, which helped a lot.
What does it mean to you: This is a variation on #2. Don’t stand out. Is your school experiencing a retro craze? Buy bell-bottoms. Everyone has a piercing all of a sudden? You better be among them. Follow fads. Fit in, visually. School is only a couple of hours a day, 4 years total. You can be yourself when you get back to the real world. And come on, the ability to asses, analyze and understand the mechanics of new environments (social intelligence) can be a pretty useful skill which will serve you well later in life.
5. When absolutely everything goes to hell, fight like the devil
Mr. S says: So let’s say that despite your best tries, you’ve been chosen as a target, cornered in an empty corridor one day by three guys who want to use your intestines as a punching bag. They know you have friends, you are not special to them in any way, but they just felt like messing with you. What do you do? You hit them first, you hit them hard and you don’t stop hitting them till they are on the verge of death. This is the only way to go. Your group will not protect you if everyone thinks you’re a pussy. Fight, take your beating, try to take one of them with you, and then consult your circle. Maybe they will retaliate or maybe they will mediate the situation.
What does it mean to you: Well, I can’t really advise fighting because… well, look at yourself. Still, an ounce of weed hidden in some a-hole’s locker and an anonymous call to the principal hurt just as much as a punch to the teeth. Just something to keep in mind.