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Advice to freshman: Join a club

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Dear Abby: This is for the "Freshman in Dallas," who asked how to adjust to his/her first days in high school. Please print my letter, because I have been in that person's shoes.

Dear Freshman: I'm about to start my senior year. When I was a freshman, I learned that none of my friends would be going to the same school as me because I was going to a magnet school. I was painfully shy, but I loved the theater and decided to join the drama club.

It worked miracles! Not only did I find a slew of new friends, but I overcame my shyness as well.

Any activities, like sports, band or drama, will help you meet great people who share your interests. In these activities, it is also common for a freshman to have friends who are juniors and seniors — very helpful!

Good luck. I really hope you have as much of a blast as I've had in high school. Ninth grade was my best year so far.

— Been there and Loved It, Newport News, Va.

Dear Been There: I'm sure your upbeat and encouraging letter will be appreciated by more students than the one for whom it is intended. How generous of you to share your personal experience. Read on:

Dear Abby: Please recommend that "Freshman" investigate the different campus organizations and activities available at his or her school. There are many clubs and service groups in addition to classes in journalism, yearbook production, drama and music.

All these activities provide legitimate social interactions while students work together on common goals. They are a wonderful way to meet new people, get involved and have fun. Incidentally, all of these activities look great on college applications. Sign me . . .

. . . College Student in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Dear Student: Your letter is sure to provide food for thought to thousands of incoming freshmen. Thank you for the input.

Dear Abby: Your column requesting that readers donate old cell phones to victims of domestic violence will undoubtedly provide them with easier access to 9-1-1. However, of great concern to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is the fact that cell phones are of limited use in certain emergencies. Please share the following lifesaving information with your readers:

1. Users must allow a few extra seconds for an answer when dialing 9-1-1.

2. The caller must give the operator the street address or other information that will allow the center to deploy a team to the site.

3. Emergency response centers do not have the technology to determine the caller's location or cell phone number. Therefore, the caller must describe the emergency and provide the cell phone number, in case a callback is necessary.

NENA views any effort to help victims of crime and domestic violence as a noble and worthwhile cause. Thank you, Abby, for doing your part to get the word out about the limitations of cell phones.

— W. Mark Adams, Executive Director, NENA

Dear Mark: Thank you for the warning. While cell phones can be lifesavers during certain emergencies, they have their drawbacks when compared with "land lines."

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips. For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby — Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

© Universal Press Syndicate