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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Be Successful in Middle School (Girls)

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    Get your look together. Even though what clothes you wear shouldn't influence how people see you, the truth is, it does. Dress appropriately. For example, avoid wearing low tank tops, and instead, maybe a t-shirt. It doesn't have to be from a expensive brand or a designer outfit, but just enough to show others your unique personality or style.
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    Make sure your personal hygiene is good. Shower every day if possible, and wash your hair at least every other day. Don't use perfume, but if you want you can use a body spray (such as one from Bath and Body Works, Victoria's Secret, or Gap Body). Deodorant is a must. Secret Scent Expressions is a good, long-lasting deodorant. Brush your teeth twice a day and keep gum or mints on you. If you don't like mints, chocolate-covered Altoids might work.
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    Style your hair. If you want, you can buy a straightening iron and use it to every other day. Always use a spray-on heat protectant. If your hair begins to look damaged, i.e. dry and brittle, deep-condition with a leave-in conditioner. When you wash your hair, first take some shampoo and scrub it vigorously into your scalp to clean off the oil. Don't apply shampoo below your ears. Rinse off the shampoo and rub your scalp, it should squeak to indicate the oil is gone. Squeeze the water out of your hair so it is wrung as dry as possible, and apply conditioner below your ears only. Let it sit for a minute or two (now is a good time to soap up) and rinse it out last of all.
    • For short-haired girls, a headband or a short ponytail is a cute style. Don't wear short pigtails, it'll look like you're trying too hard.
    • For medium- to long-haired girls, headbands, ponytails, messy buns, braids, and pigtails are good.
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    Don't overload on makeup. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable to wear no makeup at all in middle school. If you do, make it look as natural as possible. This means smudged eyeliner and heavy black mascara are epic NO's. If you want, go with some natural-looking lip gloss (C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint by Bath and Body Works, CoverGirl Wetslicks, Maybelline Shinesensational, Burt's Bee's Lip Shimmers, etc). Wash your face every morning (L'Oreal 360 face wash is good) and if you want use a light moisturizer. Exfoliants are not necessary in middle school, and can actually damage skin.
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    Get the right clothes. Here is the tricky part. You need to balance being cool with not being a follower. Mix-and-match clothes from the following brands:
    • Preppy brands. These are the currently popular clothing labels, it's a good idea to get one or two shirts or sweatshirts from these labels, just so you have something popular to wear: American Eagle Outfitters, Aeropostale, Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch.
    • Cool brands for casual wear. This is where you really start to mix-and-match. Jeans, floral tops, jewelry, cardigans, jackets, belts--it's all up to you what to buy: Forever 21, BB Dakota (pricey, but the Jack BB Dakota jackets are amazing quality), Urban Outfitters, H&M, Love Culture.
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    If you don't have a lot of money, don't stress! The following stores have great finds, sometimes even designer labels for much less: Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom Rack, JCPenney's. Never overlook Amazon.com for jackets, either. All you need is a pair of skinny jeans, a pair of boot cut jeans, a couple cute T's, a sweatshirt/cardigan/jacket of some kind, and spring/summer wear.
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    Shoes. Currently, Converse All-Star chucks, Doc Martens, and Vans skate shoes are in style. Vans are pretty affordable, starting at $45, and Converse can be found for as low as $30. If that's too pricey, go with some Airwalks from Payless. They have chucks too for much less. Any pair of cool-looking sneakers works fine. UGGs are in style, but so many people have fake UGGs that buying a pair from Target or any department store works fine too. Flip-flops are a must-have and can be purchased from any store. If you want a name brand, American Eagle has aerie flip-flops with the logo for less than $10 in the summer. If you want cool socks (hey, if you change for PE, you might want them!), colorful KB socks are in style, and here's where you're in luck: you can get them from Costco for really cheap!
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    Attitude is everything. People like a cheerful, friendly, accepting girl. Don't judge other people, don't swear, always be positive and don't talk trash about other girls behind their backs. Truly popular girls are really nice to everyone, including school outcasts, and they make friends easily. Be loyal and interested in your friends' lives. Don't hog conversations. Let other people take the lead sometimes, and don't mope around or get depressed because things aren't going well. Remember, you can always fix it. If you need help, talk to an older sibling, cousin, or friend, or your parent, aunt, uncle, church youth leader, etc.
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    Get good grades. Very few truly popular girls fail school. You don't need to be a nerd, but aim for at least all As and get A+'s in the subjects you know you're good at. Remember, your grades are much more important than how popular you are. Write your homework in your planner (if that's boring or considered uncool, use colored gel pens and highlighters to make it more interesting!) and set an estimated time frame. When you get home, make a schedule that includes time for showering, eating, practicing instruments, and playing on the computer. Stick to your schedule and turn in all your homework.
    • If Facebook and IM are distractions, don't try to completely cut them out of your schedule. Your self-control will lapse and you'll end up spending hours on those sites anyway. Instead, give yourself a half hour of time each day BEFORE you start work. This way, you'll get the urge out of your way without spending too long online.
    • If you need homework help and don't want to ask friends or parents, check to see if your local library or school offers tutoring. Many times high school students will tutor for free in order to get community service hours. Check online too, if you need math or science help there are a host of good websites.
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    Join activities you like. If you like being active, take up a sport. If you like music, learn an instrument in your school band or orchestra, and take private lessons if you can. Singing in the choir is great too. Many schools have honors choirs, jazz bands, symphony orchestras, etc. Here are some activities to look into: yearbook club, French club, politics club, service club, select/premier soccer, basketball, etc., fencing, crew, horseback riding, softball, swim team, debate, knowledge bowl, math club, science olympiad, football, hockey, ping-pong, manga club, art club, D&D club, culture club, Chinese/Japanese/German school (even if you're not that ethnicity!), guitar club, Future Problem Solvers club. In all these activities you're sure to meet people like you.
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    Stay healthy. Abide by the "rule of eights"--get eight hours of sleep (nine is even better!), drink eight glasses of water a day, get eight servings of fruits and vegetables (it seems excessive, but it will really pay off). Take a multivitamin if you want. Remember, it's okay to get ridiculously high amounts of certain vitamins, especially C--even up to 500%! If you want a great-tasting supplement, Nordic Berries are like gummies. Cod liver oil sounds disgusting, but it's great for getting healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which make your eyesight better, improve your memory and brain power, and contribute to healthy nails, skin, and hair. Nordic Naturals's strawberry DHA chews taste terrific.
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    Get the latest music and technology. Almost everyone has a cell phone and/or iPod these days. If you don't have a cell phone or iPod, don't stress!
    • If you don't have a phone because your parents won't let you get one, all is not lost. Offer to pay for the minutes yourself. Show them phones such as the LG Neon which are cool-looking but don't cost much. If the answer is still "no" and you've tried every argument ("Times have changed since you were a teen!" and "I need it to stay in contact with you!"), don't panic. You can keep in touch with friends via Facebook, call with a home phone (use a cordless phone if you have one to talk privately), and text with an iPod touch (see below) or with your email (Google how).
    • If you can't afford an iPod, Sansa, Sony, Ematic, and Coby MP3 players offer great value for less. Get a 2GB one at a minimum, although 4 to 8GB is ideal.
    • If you have an Apple iPod touch, here's how to text with one:
    • Download TextNow from the app store. It's a dollar. With this alone, you can text your friends unlimited whenever you have wi-fi. This is great already, but don't you hate how you can only use an email address for your friends to text you?
    • Go to voice.google.com and register for an invite. Once you receive it (it should take 2-4 weeks), get a Google phone number. Follow instructions on the enflick.com site to link your GV number to your TextNow address. Then give that number to your friends and voila, you've got an ordinary phone number!
    • To take this concept further, set up your GV number to ring your home phone. BUT, since a parent might pick up a call meant for you, record a custom voicemail greeting, then go to your GV account settings and set your account to automatically forward to voicemail. This way your phone will never ring, but your friends can leave a voicemail message, which you can listen to and respond to!
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    Getting good music is huge these days. Listen to Top 40 music and pick some you like to download. Otherwise, just learn the popular music so you know it when other people sing it. It's a good idea to have some popular music on your MP3 player for some occasions. Then again, don't be a conformist! Jazz, soundtracks, indie, and classical music are always okay.
    • Here are some popular artists to look into: Owl City, Lady Gaga, The Black-Eyed Peas, Train, Ke$ha, Jay Sean, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, T-Pain, Iyaz, Cher Lloyd, Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs or One Direction.
    • If you want to discover great music, Pandora is a good option.
    • For a dance playlist, the following songs are must-haves: One Thing, Love Drunk, Everytime We Touch, Call Me Maybe, Replay, Heart Skips A Beat, Want U Back, Oath, Down, TiK ToK, Hot N Cold, In The Ayer, Jump On It, Shake It, Paparazzi, Poker Face, Dirty Little Secret, Barbie Girl. Listen to these songs so you can sing along at dances and socials. Other popular artists are Boys Like Girls, Owl City, All Time Low, Hey Monday, The All-American Rejects, Flyleaf, Bon Jovi, Cash Cash, Cascada, Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Fall Out Boy, Kelly Clarkson, Metro Station, Queen, MGMT, Smashing Pumpkins, Snow Patrol, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, U2, We the Kings, and Yellowcard.
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    Be up-to-date in movies and books! You should watch/read one of these famous series: The Harry Potter series, The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games Trilogy.
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    Having a boyfriend is not necessary. You don't need to be in a relationship, even if everyone else is in one. Think of it this way: when you go out with someone, one of two things is going to happen: you'll get married, or you'll break up. The first isn't happening anytime soon. So you're probably destined for breakup, not to be negative, but to be realistic. Wait for awhile. Eighth grade is okay to have a boyfriend in, but ideally, wait for high school. It's nice to feel loved, but having close friends (guy friends too!) is really important.
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    Stay in the loop. Check your Facebook, texts, and email at least weekly. Read Seventeen magazine, or go online to stay updated on the latest news. If you don't have cable TV go to hulu.com. Yahoo! Answers is a great place to ask questions about middle school.
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    You don't need to be with the popular crowd. Get your own circle of close friends, don't make enemies, and establish your own special rebel kind of coolness!
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    On the internet, use current internet slang. But don't use them too much, because you are intelligent and it makes you look dumb. A little is all right though.
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    Most importantly, just relax and be yourself. You gotta like yourself for other people to like you!