Instructions for Surviving High School

Written by Oscar Benn III and Connie Martinez


1. Learn how to play something.

Be it a sport, video game, or musical instrument, find something to do with those hands.

Self-expression will be key to survival here.


2. Do not eat school lunch.

You will surely die.


3. Do not fall in love.

It will be hard enough to focus in class without the fear of the guy she runs track with after school soon becoming your new replacement


   3. Fall in love as many times as possible

With the football player, the baseball player, the football player again, the basketball player, the guy who runs track

falling in love is like riding a bike for the first time

Terrifying, reckless

Adrenaline pumping through your veins

And your knees will have scars and bruises

telling the stories of each time you fell for someone new

But if you're like me, you'll fall in love with anyone who shows you their soul

you'll crave the rush every time

and wind up riding that bike again

Hoping someone will come along and want to ride with you


4. Enjoy freshman year.

It only happens once.


5. Let your teachers know that you mean business.

Like   Front row seat business.

Like   Never have to borrow a pen business

Like   No need to repeat instructions business

Like   Textbook everyday business

Like   “Yes that is toothpaste on my shirt cause I was determined to be on time today” business

Like   “What does a student have to do to get some knowledge around here?” business

Like   “Please never leave us with a sub again” business

Like   “I care about my grade” business


5. Your GPA doesn't measure your intelligence


6. Please don’t tag up the bathrooms

I mean, it’s just uncomfortable for everyone.

It’s already awkward using the toilet,

let alone having to stare at all of this true american graffiti the whole time.


7. Record your experience

August 23, 2014

I should’ve let him take my picture.

Or said something.

like “hi”

or told him that the way he carried his camera around

reminded me of a child carefully carrying a puppy or kitten

and I wanted to be a puppy or kitten carefully carried by him.


September 18, 2012

I must be doing something wrong. But I’ll just keep playing along


March 11, 2012

I shouldn’t have asked for his number.

Or flirted with him

Or caught feelings

Or gotten heartbroken

But I did get 5 new poems out of it


May 25, 2013

Summer job seeking is not as easy as it seems.

So when pops says we got no money, I now know what he means.


December 2, 2014

I lack the lack of energy that would help me relax but my plans keep falling through fast like grocery bags and I’m supposed to relax?


February 26, 2015

Thank you Mr. Bynum for giving me that chance.


August 29, 2012

When you look at yourself, you don’t see what I see.

You see split ends and nail length and big uneven teeth.

You see hair you can’t perfect and weight you wish you lost and height you wish you were and eyes that slightly cross.


March 27, 2015

I hope that I’m the girl you think about years from now,

when you’re drinking your morning coffee

And it bothers you because you poured too much milk in it that now it can't resemble my dark brown eyes.


This memorabilia will be invaluable years from now.

Who knows? You might even get a book out of it all.


8. All-nighters are not for the faint of heart.

Don’t be surprised if coffee saves your grade more than once.


8. All-nighters are not for the faint of heart.

Don’t be surprised if the Starbucks barista begins to know you by your name.


9. Titles DO NOT matter








Drum Major


9. You are worth more than an acceptance


9. It is normal

To feel out of place here

To find your crowd

To have never found your crowd just yet

To be teammate, classmate, bandmate, partner

To be lone-wolf, life-of-the-party, workaholic


no matter what,

You being

here, alive, electric

Makes all the difference in the world.


10. Don’t be afraid to take it slow.

Feel free to take your sweet time

It will try to go by really fast

And it will be over before you know it.

This poem is about: 
My community


Frankie B.

This is so unique. I love it, good job. 

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741