11/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Back to School!

Hey, kids, get excited, because it's your favorite time of year again, back-to-school time! What's that? It's not your favorite time? I'm pretty sure what you meant to say is "I can't wait to get back to making the grown-ups' lives just a tiny bit less full of reasons to contemplate the whole bottle of Ambien tonight, because I would never complain about living essentially cost-free, with almost four months of vacation time annually. That would just make me a whiny little sack of..." Oh, that is what you meant to say? Great! And with these tips, this school year will be the best one yet!

* Cool kids can wear anything and, even if it's as ridiculous as sherpa boots in 90-degree heat, the lemmings' sheer desire to bask in the reflection of that shimmery sparkle will ensure that it reaches "trend" status.

Take some initiative, lemming -- if you spend enough hours on enough consecutive days waiting at the main entrance to the mall, you're sure to spot one of the cool kids. Follow her at a discreet distance and purchase anything she does. Then head "home," to a location where you can see into her bedroom window, but are safely out of her sight-lines, and wait until she lays out that precious first-day-of-school outfit, so you can make sure to wear the same thing. This will not make your target like you, but if you're lucky, and you stick to it on a nightly basis, you'll start getting inside her brain, and when she finally loses it, you'll be there to step in and replace her...

* Pregnancy pacts are so last year. Make this year the most newsworthy ever by going on a hunger strike. Trust me, you'll have no trouble finding other girls to sign up with you.

* School isn't so bad when you're making it a better place, like they did in the 80's documentary, 21 Jump Street! Insinuate yourself into the stoner friend group, but act cool about it, man. Maybe even take a puff or two so no one gets suspicious. Then call in both school and city authorities to crack down on the offenders, making sure to be conspicuously absent at the planned 'bust' so that no one knows that you had anything to do with it. Repeat with all other suspicious characters in your year and those immediately above and below yours. Don't worry about anyone putting together the pattern of your friendship and their own downfalls; "common sense" is not taught in public schools.

Use your vigilante experience as fodder for college essays. Taking initiative like that always impresses admissions boards, as will the significantly lower number of applications from your district.

* Did you know that 74% of adults report recurring nightmares of high-school test situations for which they're not prepared? No tips here, it just seemed like you should know what you have to look forward to.

* Everyone has a class or two that just doesn't come very easily -- Einstein failed math as a kid, and look where he ended up!

This year you're still not Einstein. Spend the first few class sessions in singling out which kid looks most bribable, but still C-level or above. Then bribe him. If you're worried that the subject you're "learning" might cover something you'll actually need to know later in life, rest assured that this is almost never true. I mean, you watch The Office, right?

* You can save yourself a lot of taunting if you know in advance that "daily World of Warcraft marathons" do not count as an acceptable substitute for your P.E. requirement.

* You're right to suspect your mom's statement that "it's just an awkward phase." Especially since this is the 7th consecutive year she's made that claim.

* Starting a countdown calendar can make the school year seem less brutally, cruelly endless. Set yours up so day 0 coincides with the day you can finally get out of this hellhole. What, you believed these are really supposed to be the best years of your life? There's a reason that the only people you hear make that claim about high school are Disney tween stars and your one friend's mom who shops in the junior's section and buys booze for you guys, on the condition she be allowed to drink it with you, ohmygod, isn't she just the fun mom?