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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 23 November, 2014

10 memories we all have from starting big school

You’re in the big leagues now.

IT’S THAT TIME of year again. The schools are back in business.

For many, it’ll just be a case of moving up the ladder. From 4th to 5th class, a junior to a senior in secondary. But what about those whose lives are about to be completely turned upside down?

The transition from 6th class to 1st year is one we all remember–the good and the bad.

1. The realisation that you’re tiny

In primary school you were rolling with the big guns. As a 6th classer you were a proper teenager in a sea of children, and had the confirmation money to prove it.

Secondary is an immediate downgrade to the bottom of the food chain. 6th years comment on how each intake of firsties seem to be getting smaller, while you drag around your deadly new bag from Argos trying to make sense of it all.

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2. Deciding what subjects to take

God be with the days we wouldn’t know what subjects we’d be doing or at what time. That’s the teacher’s job. Art on Fridays, Irish after lunch. Secondary is a maze of subjects and timetables. What the hell is classics? Home Ec? A language is compulsory?

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At least you get to do science now. Goggles, bunsen burners, plant cells, YEAH!

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3. Getting used to different teachers

You’ll have to go to your teachers now, lazy. When they’re out you don’t get spread across other classes either, you’ll get an unfortunate sub. Devastation.

The fact that none of them have any consideration for your other subjects means that the homework comes strong and fast. We’re welling up for Ms. Dooley already.

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4. The P.E. culture shock

What do you mean I can’t wear my tracksuit ALL DAY on PE day? There’s no P.E. day? It’s just a class?

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In some secondary schools, you’re even expected to shower after double P.E.–a request that instils fear deep in the heart of all prepubescent teens. It’s still less humiliating than the torture known as the ‘bleep test’.

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5. Getting your first locker

Oh the excitement at the prospect of getting a locker. The disappointment when they’re not good ones like in Saved By the Bell, but a stack of four puny boxes you have to fight to get at once the bell rings.

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6. The anxiety over your stationery

You REALLY want that Peppa Pig set, but is it cool enough? Probably not. Trawling Eason’s for your plain big boy/girl stationery is a rite of passage we all must face.

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7. A whole new world at lunchtime

The school now has a shop, where you can buy actual items. With your money. Packed lunches are optional, there’s even the possibility that your parents would sign that little slip to enable you to ‘go home for lunch’.

Forget yard time, nobody’s going to round you up in lines and guide you back inside with your finger over your mouth. Drunk, on, freedom.

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8. Making new friends

With a new school, comes new friends. If you’re going to a local school, it’ll be the pure devastation of being separated from your old friends. What if you don’t fit in with all these weirdos? Who’ll go to the discos in the hall with you?

WHO WILL BE YOUR PARTNER IN P.E.?

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Mark Stedman/photocall Ireland

9. It’s just like a real school!

There’s an actual library instead of a book shelf at the back of the classroom. PCs! A language lab! An ‘auditorium’ if you fancy.

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10. Foreign school tours

After 8 years of being harassed into annual visits to the zoo, the coca cola factory, a farm–we all remember the satisfaction of handing in the deposit on a school trip across the waters. Italy is very educational after all, and isn’t the drinking age 16.

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