Back to School: How to be Cool
So, Labor Day has passed us by, leaving us with slightly cooler weather and closets full of white apparel that it is no longer OK to wear. For many of us, we’ve already headed back to school, or are heading back this week. My Facebook page is full of pictures of everyone’s first day of school, from snapshots of new dorm rooms to carefully curated portraits of toothless five-year-olds holding signs and backpacks bigger than themselves.
Recently, I saw a gem of an article with back to school advice, and I thought it was so awesome that I just have to share it with you guys. It’s not your usual prose about how to smell the flowers and do your homework, however. It’s a pretty unique pop-culture primer on how to handle the first day of classes, complete with Youtube clips. If you’re seeing a blank page where the clips should be, try reloading.
Especially if you’re starting a new school, the prospect of the first day can be a daunting one. But take a page from The Wonder Years’ Kevin Arnold: school is an adventure, your old friends will still be thinking about you, even the most unpleasant schoolmates can be dealt with…and maybe you’ll meet your own Winnie Cooper, who makes the whole thing worthwhile.
It goes without saying that you did your summer reading, right? Still, it never hurts to refresh before the first day, since you may be asked to “employ the hour in writing an essay on the book you were given to read over the holiday.” In this clip of Mr. Chips’ first day on the job from the 1939 classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips, in which an elderly teacher thinks back on his life influencing young minds, the risks of careless reading are clearly shown: there’s nothing like “May I kick him, sir?” to make you wish you knew that Cadiz is a place, not a person.
The cafeteria-tribe scene, as perfected in Mean Girls, is a classic high-school-movie trope: a new kid gets a tour from a jaded expert and learns where all the different groups hang out and why they don’t mix. Of course, the new kid never follows the injunction not to mix cliques, which is how the plot of such a movie gets off the ground. So, in the interest of life imitating art, we would never recommend feeling bound by social norms. But we do commend the character who gives that tour, who is so hyper-aware of friend groups. He or she allows the genre to exist—so, if you see a new kid, be nice, because that crucial character could be you.
The final tip? School can be enjoyable. Seriously. So, you know, learn from Dead Poets Society and gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
NOTE: I only chose four clips from the article. The full piece has 10 clips. Check it out here: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/09/04/back-to-school-9-pieces-of-essential-pop-culture-advice/