Sunday, January 19, 2014

Your Locker (A Home Away From Home)

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Your locker is a pretty big deal in middle school.  In addition to it being your home away from home, it’s where a lot of action takes place.  At the lockers is where you’ll dodge hall huggers, hear gossip, and have your own locker chitchats.

For the incoming sixth grader, the locker can be a source of stress.  Thoughts like, “Oh no!  I forgot my combo,” “What if I can’t open my locker?” and, “What if someone stuffs me in my locker and no one finds me until June,” may consume you at first, but after about a month it’s just a normal part of your day, like brushing your teeth.

So, first things first – how to open your locker.  Locker padlocks take a little practice but can easily be conquered.  Here’s the deal in being a locker pro the first day of school (so you don’t look like a scrub):

1. Spin the dial to the right a few times to clear it.
2. Turn right to the first number.
3. Turn left PAST zero, and the stop on the second number.
4. Turn right to last number and Voila!


(Because CeCee’s locker is freakishly neat, and mine looks like a federal disaster area, she’ll be the one to tell you how to stay organized.)

Thanks, Luce!

Okay, so organization is extremely key to succeeding in middle school.  The first thing I like to do is affix my class schedule on the locker door and arrange my books and folders in order from first period to last.  I prefer a vertical stack because this gives me way more scope and latitude.  By always keeping my materials in order, I don’t have to fritter away precious seconds thinking about what I need.  It’s all right there in front of me.

I also utilize those locker hook thingies for my gym bag, purse, and jacket (if I brought one).  Additional plastic hooks can be procured at any drug or supply store.  Remember, whatever you do, don’t be a crammer (someone who just randomly crams things into their locker and shuts the door hoping the locker fairy will somehow organize their shambolic chaos before their next class).  Crammers never stay organized and seldom earn righteous grades.  Also, try to clean out your locker once a week, just to make sure it stays tidy and organized.

Garnishing your locker with decorations and personal heraldry is a lot of fun.  Some girls choose to have a motif, like flowers or rainbows, whereas most guys go for the hero-worshiping array of sports dudes and rappers.  When it comes to interior decorating, I’m more of a feng shui-ist, but a couple of items are absolutely locker-essential: a mirror for facial and food-between-teeth checkups and photos of your most principled friends and/or fave celebrities.  Along with lifting your spirits, photos can be a definite conversation piece.

HELPFUL HINTS FROM LUCY: Have a secret emergency compartment with a few unmentionables.  You never know when you’re little friend might show up.  (Just sayin’!)  Also, never leave food in your locker for long periods of time.  Once I left a carton of milk and some Cheetoes over holiday break.  It was an ant fest when I got back and major nast!!!  Oh yeah, I try to hang up lots of pictures of random cool looking people so as to appear popular.  Resulting outcome: pending.


A locker/lock
A mirror
Cute boy pics
Celebrity and band pics
Tons of B.F.F. photo ops.  (Take a day and pose with your B.F.F.  Then choose which pics you should display.)

Unicorns and Rainbows,

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who Are You? Surviving Cliques and Labels

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Cliques are social groups of tight-knit circles with characteristics often defined by attitude, clothes, and music. Common ones throughout the ages are preps, goths, emos, oddballs … what else, C.?

CeCee: Hipsters, delinquents, VIP popular kids, couples, loners, geeks, band people—

Lucy: Bookworms, nerds, punks, skaters, drama people, choir people, nonconformists—

CeCee: Who, by virtue of nonconforming, are, in fact, conforming—irony alert!

Lucy: Tomboys, jocks, grade repeaters, cheerleaders, wannabes—

CeCee: I think that about covers it, Luce.

Lucy: So, CeCee—why do you think there are cliques to begin with?

CeCee: Because it’s a universal law that everyone wants to belong and feel a part of something. In this respect, cliques are normal and healthy.

Lucy: Are you implying that some cliques are abnormal and unhealthy?

CeCee: Absolutely! Cliques can squelch individuality, promote exclusivity, and frown on clicking outside the clique. This is not normal and healthy.

Lucy: Rightsies.

CeCee: So when choosing a clique, make sure to find a group of people who embrace who you are as a person—

Lucy: And let you pick your own peeps. You don’t want a clique that’s all exclusive and controlly.

Lucy and CeCee: Because cliques are a big part of middle school and only get more intense in high school, we’ve taken five basic ones and analyzed them.

WARNING: These analyses are based on general stereotypes that should not be applied to individuals. They are merely personas, like what you see in movies and television shows. That said, there may be tiny hints of truth to each, so really think about who you are before committing to a clique.

Punky Goth Types
Distinguishing Trademarks: Rockin’ the black fishnets, Manic Panic hair dye, loads of eyeliner, combat boots, multiple piercings, and anarchy tattoos. Punks and goths are more distinguished in high school, whereas in middle school, they pretty much run together. The basic difference is punks are more political and rebel against authority. Goths are into fantasy, Victorian/vampire-y things, and shop at Hot Topic.

Why They’re Cool: Punky goth types have a strong sense of self and don’t really care about what others think. Since they relish in being atypical, they are immune to silly trends and rages.

Downside: A little too gloom and doom. They experience a lot of “black flack” from parents who don’t understand the whole “what’s the point of life” attitude. Some PGs suffer from a gothier-than-thou syndrome and are very tiresome to be around.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Pants pulled up high with a belt, shirt neatly tucked in, hair slicked back and gelled, and, of course, the thick-framed tortoiseshell glasses. They say things like “nifty” and “neato.” These number crunchers are always on the honor roll, into sci-fi marathons, and sometimes persecuted for their superior intellect.

Why They’re Cool: Nerds are walking encyclopedias who don’t answer to anyone but their computers. They have bright, productive futures that include graduation from MIT, inventing something “nifty,” and getting filthy rich like no one’s business. Also, they’re the only clique with a candy named in their honor.

Downside: Nerds aren’t exactly known for their fun side, and some would argue with the exception of D&D parties, they have a nonexistent social life. Some nerds fall victim to wedgies, swirlies, and other pranks.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Superperky, glossified, flirt-in-a-skirt types. They do herkies for no particular reason, talk with tons of emotion, and sprinkle their conversations with lots of words like “totally,” “soooooo,” and “OMG.”

Why They’re Cool: Cheerleaders are always happy, hyper, and superflexible. They make pep rallies and games entertaining and don’t mind living up to their stereotypes.

Downside: Cheerleaders are hypercompetitive and not known for their astronomical IQs. Occupational hazards include twists, sprains, and breaks.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Always clean, neat, and well groomed with classic, soap opera-y names like Amanda, Charlotte, Walker, and Blake. They wear shirts with little alligators and polo dudes on them. Preps are superconfident, ambitious, and image conscious.

Why They’re Cool: They see “preppiness” as a lifestyle choice, not a clique. They are classy, refined, and smell nice. Most preps are very friendly.

Downside: Some are money obsessed and snobby but will attempt to hide it for the lower classes so not to appear impolite.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Physically large and muscular; hair is styled in a crew cut. Since they tend to be BMOCs, jocks/sporties walk with an arrogant strut. Like their female counterparts (cheerleaders), they dwell at the top of the social ladder. They listen to the coach like he’s god and act like there is no point to life but sports.

Why They’re Cool: These able-bodied athletes are also natural-born leaders. When you have them on your team in gym, you will most likely win.

Downside: These “muscle heads” are supercompetitive and act like it’s the end of the world when they lose. Some may be mean to their polar opposite persona—the nerd.

To find out more about surviving cliques and labels, read Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School…