Unlike Phineas and Ferb’s seemingly endless summer of fun, as August comes around, Back to School ads come on TV, and many of us are forced to emerge from our summer bubble back into the reality of life as a student.
Personally, more so than the new year, a new school year is a great opportunity for a fresh start— to finally make all of the changes to my school life that I promised myself that I would make sometime last year (or the year before that… or the year before that). Here are a few suggestions as to how you can ensure that you start the school year off on the right foot!
#1 Adjust your sleep schedule
If you still have a few days before school starts, starting to sleep at the time that you usually do on school nights will help your body adjust to not staying up all night like you might have done all summer. If you’re used to staying up until 4am, then it might be hard to fall asleep at 11pm on the night before the first day of school— and you don’t want to wind up sleeping through your alarm and being late on the first day back from break!
Even if school has already started for you, the beginning of the school year is the perfect time to set a good sleep pattern that can help give you enough energy to deal with the daily stresses of school life.
#2 Gather your school supplies
Make sure that you have everything you need for your classes, whether it be a pencil, protractor set, or cute bunny-shaped erasers. It’s always good to start the year off with empty notebooks, so a quick run to the store might be in order, or you can simply rip the used pages out of a notebook so it, just like you, has a fresh start for the new school year.
Unless your school explicitly requires three-ring binders, I would recommend simple A4 sized flat folders instead, as they’re much lighter and easier on your back, and also are less bulky and take up little space in your backpack.
An update to your stationery collection is also a good motivator for you to use your new highlighters and pens to take better notes and stay on top of your schoolwork!
#3 Clean your backpack!
Dig out your school backpack from where it’s been sitting in the back of your closet for the past few months, and clean everything out of it, which can make it feel brand new even if you don’t buy a new one. Sort out all of last year’s worksheets and empty gum wrappers (while hoping not to find any rotting lunch leftovers) and give it a good soapy wash to cleanse away last year’s sweat and grime (and tears).
Let it dry in the sun and then fill it with your school supplies to get ready for school!
#4 Go through your school email
If you have a school email, you likely haven’t logged into it since last June— go through your inbox and click through all of the accumulated emails, and make sure to read any recent emails from your school. You never know, there might be an email in there letting you know that they’re pushing back the first day of school. Well, it’s more likely about your new schedule, but one can dream.
#5 Review your school schedule
If you’re like me, a week into summer break, you’d already lost track of what day of the week it was— so it’s probably a good idea to review your daily schedule to prepare yourself for your soon to be jam-packed school days. In particular, plan out what time you need to wake up, and then what time you need to head to bed in order to get a decent amount of sleep—while you might not adhere to your planned bedtime every day, it’s always good to have a goal, and try to maintain it for the first month of school to establish a good habit.
In addition, remember all of your other commitments, such as sports practice, volunteering, or work, and make a plan as to how long each activity is going to take, including commute time. While the multitude of tasks you have to complete might make you feel overwhelmed at first, facing them now is much better than accidentally flaking on your commitments. If you feel like you have too much on your plate, maybe it’s time to drop one of your clubs or take less job shifts. it can be hard to remember at times, but your well being should come first.
#6 Update your planner
If you got a new planner for the school year like I did, once you have your schedule worked out, it’s helpful to write it all down so you can keep track of all of the tasks you need to accomplish. To me, breaking in a new planner is like breaking in a new pair of shoes, and it helps to spend thirty minutes writing in all of my family members’ birthdays and outlining the dates of my school holidays to give myself some preemptive hope of making it through the first semester.
#7 Set goals
No matter what grade you’re going into, a new school year always brings challenges, and really, all you can do is prepare yourself to face them. Whether it be being assigned to a locker far away from all of your classes, having to eat PB&J sandwiches for lunch for months in a row, or having to slog through another semester of required reading, part of being in school is having so many competing priorities that you don’t even know where to start with tackling everything in both your academic and social life.
At the beginning of the school year, set yourself a few goals to accomplish in the next months, which can be anything from “sign up for clubs”, “study at least 15 minutes a day for the SAT”, or “get a job!” Just as with setting new year’s goals, it’s hard to balance between being not too optimistic but still positive, so make sure that your goals are actually achievable but still require effort to get to. (A goal to “eat at least 3 bags of cheetos a day” is ambitious, but I’d suggest aiming for something that’ll make an impact that lasts longer than cheeto dust stains.)
If you want to change something about your school life, then the best time to do it is now! Make an effort, and be proud how far you’ve come so far in your years of schooling— now all you have to do is keep it up for the next 180 days of this school year. High school might seem like it lasts forever, but as someone going into their senior year of high school, I can tell you to enjoy it while you still can.
Good luck! You’ve got this 🙂