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The Campanile

Paly hacks for freshmen

I vividly remember my first day at Palo Alto Senior High School: I was a lost freshman, both physically and emotionally, walking through the quad, a binder reminder in hand which contained a map of my new stomping ground. I couldn’t tell you what the difference between the Student Activities Office or the Student Center, and I probably still don’t, but at least I can make it seem like I do. Fast forward to April 2016—I have completed 15 quarters at Paly and am hoping to pass my last before I become lost both physically and emotionally at a new campus. However, during my time at this fantastic high school I have learned some hacks that made my high school experience much easier, and it would be rude of me not to share it with the readers of The Campanile.

Quad Life

Not to say I’m a genius, but I have created and mastered a formula that will help anyone navigate where to sit on the quad, depending on how social you are at the moment. The closer you get to the middle of the quad, the more you want people to get away from you. So, if you are on the outside of the quad, you are probably living your life and you want friends to join you on your journey, while if you are in the dead center of the quad, you are probably having a deep talk about life with your friend and you need people to be far away. Does this work? Well, I sat in the middle of the quad with a friend and no one came up to us and we were able to have a fantastic talk with no interruptions. If our loneliness has to do with my formula or our social standing, I choose not to think about it.

Where to Study

Though many would disagree, preps should be used for studying or doing homework. I recommend staying on campus for your prep, even if it’s sixth or seventh period, because if you go home you’ll probably nap and then be unproductive. There are many places to study at Paly, from the MAC and the library, to the MRC or the quad. The choices are overwhelming, but again, I have a formula that helps you choose where to do work in relation to how social you are. If you go to the library, you are probably trying to get a good amount of work done, but you want to see some familiar faces walk by and have a nice conversation here and there. If you like the MAC, you aren’t trying to study. What you are doing is trying to watch Netflix on a couch and maybe get a nap in. If you go to the MRC or SSRC, damn, you really care about your studies and you are getting that A in APUSH. If you are trying to flex on the quad, well, good luck.


Being the Lifestyle Editor of this world-renowned high school newspaper makes me kind of a big deal. But even for regular staff writers on one of the five thousand publications at Paly, being a part of the journalism community opens a lot of doors, most importantly the kitchen doors to in the MAC. For all of us hard-working journalists, we are a pearl and the MAC is our oyster. You basically have free reign to any part of the MAC at any time, because journalism. Need a snack break during English? Ask a teacher to open the MAC kitchen for you because you want to eat the snacks you paid $70 for at the beginning of the year. Want to take a nice nap away from screaming freshman? Ask a teacher to open the Journalism Library. When asking a teacher to open any room in the MAC, remember to always say, “It’s for [insert publication name here].”

Sadly, this space only allows me to give so many hacks and I have ran out of room. If you are dying for more tips, please slide into my DMs, whatever that means. Bye Paly Pals!

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