A few weeks ago, I attended my junior prom. I had been looking forward to it since my freshman year. I couldn't wait to dress up, dance and ride in a limo.

Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan. I still had a good time, but the lead up to the event was more stressful than it needed to be. I've learned a lot that I will keep in mind for next year. If your prom is coming up, here are some tips to help make the experience run more smoothly.

(Marie Guglielmo/Wilkes-Barre Times Leader/MCT)

  • Plan your own group. Don't wait for others to ask you to join theirs or randomly join a friend's. Get your own group together quickly. I joined a friend's group and realized later that I didn't know most of the people in the group. Another friend also asked to join the group, so at least I knew her. But then two days before prom, the leaders of the group realized they had counted wrong and there wasn't enough room on the party bus for everyone. My friend was kicked out of the group because she was one of the last people to join. I decided to leave with her, and we were left groupless. Don't let this be you!


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  • Go to unexpected places to find your dress. If you're a girl, it's a big deal if someone else wears the same dress as you. To avoid this, don't shop where everyone is shopping. I found my dress at a dress rental store that also sold dresses for $45. No one else had the same dress! There are also stores that won't sell the same dress to multiple girls from the same school. These types of stores guarantee that you will have a unique look.

  • Be ready to roll with the punches. A lot of things went wrong with my prom group, so my parents ended up driving my friend and me to the dance. We didn't want to go to a nice restaurant, so we ended up getting McDonald's. It was fun and cheap.

  • Bring Band-Aids. My heels gave me a really deep blister that is still healing. It could've been avoided by wearing a Band-Aid to protect my ankles.

  • Go with someone you're close with. It doesn't matter if it's a date or a friend, but when you're close with the people in your group, you can relax more. I went with one of my best friends. I knew she wouldn't ditch me and that we would want to do the same things.

  • Take advantage of the activities at the dance. My prom was on the USS Hornet, and there were tours and a flight simulator. I spent more of my time doing those things than actually dancing.

  • Don't restrict yourself to only hanging out with your group. I saw a girl who refused to leave her group because she thought she had to stay with them all night. Throughout the night, I saw her looking bored. I talked to people from different groups, and that made the night more fun.

  • Take lots of pictures. This should be a night you want to remember.

    The Life in Perspective board is made up of teens who write for the features sections. Sara Zollner attends Castro Valley High School. Reach her at lip@bayareanewsgroup.com.