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Eighth-grade jitters
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I'm nervous. My stomach is doing flips even the most professional gymnast couldn't master. My hands, which are usually dry, are now being rubbed on my pants to get them free of perspiration. But I'm unsuccessful.

"It's nothing," I say, as I breathe in and out. "Just another grade up."

But it is something. I'm going into the eighth grade, and I'm petrified. Lately, I've often had the same dream. Nervous stomach, sweaty palms and unnecessary deep breathing. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that I'll meet new people, get new teachers and still have to duck and dodge the daily lunch surprise.

I love school, though. Being a proud Seminole of Memorial Middle School has taught me a lot. Memorial, and middle school in general, has taught me to know who you are, reach for any goal you have and never to let anyone or anything get in the way of what is most important - my education. Still, I'm nervous and very anxious. I wonder how my friends have changed or which guy friends gained deep voices and mustaches and which ones still have the same three strands of hair on their chin that they call a beard. I'm also wondering now if it's that I'm truly nervous about starting school or just ready for the summer to be over. Probably both.

I've had an OK but better-than-most summer this year. I stayed in Savannah for a fourth-of-July wedding. It was very nice, and Savannah was very interesting and historical. I learned a lot about Savannah. I also went to a wilderness camp at Rock Eagle called "Let's Get Wild." I had a great time with my granddad Ernest and my cousin Lili. I went fishing, shot my first shotgun and even worked with leather. A few days ago, I even found a great bakery. They have really good red velvet cupcakes and a pink lemonade cupcake I am dying to try.

All in all I've had a great summer and hope to have an even better school year. During my eighth grade year I will be on the yearbook staff, trying out for the cheerleading squad and even doing a year-long advanced art class that will count for one high school credit before I even set foot in high school for my freshman year. Thinking of it now, I just can't wait for summer to be over.

Soon the first day of school will come, and it will be just like Christmas, with bookbags, binders and new school supplies and clothes as gifts. I shouldn't be nervous, and I won't be (or I can at least try). Mrs. McMann, our new principal, is coming in and she is easy to talk to and really funny so I know this year won't start on a boring note. I will also be able to see my two favorite teachers, Ms. Pete who teaches science and Mrs. Snell who teaches language arts, and teaches it well I might add. I just can't wait for school to start now. If I'm going to be nervous and anxious about eighth grade, I wonder how my first day as a freshman will be. So I guess I just have to go in heart first whether I'm ready or not. Eighth grade here I come.

Elizabeth Leary is a rising eighth grader at Memorial Middle School and a resident of Rockdale County.