Starting the new school year can be filled with anticipation, excitement, and nerves, some good and some bad. It is the best yet the worst feeling in the world. With three daughters, two of which are entering high school this year, I have witnessed firsthand the stress that school can bring to students. These 5 tips provided will help returning students, whether they are entering middle school, high school, or college, cope with the added stressors regarding the new school year.
Tip #1 Set Goals.
I find setting goals to be one of the most beneficial things to do. The reason being, putting all the focused actions and discipline that you took upon yourself will ultimately be the reward. Goals do not have to be big or far fetched. I find it best for me to set small goals throughout my day to keep me motivated and feel accomplished by the end of my day. For example, if a student is struggling with making friends at school I would set a goal to introduce myself to at least 3 people in one school day. Not only will you get a sense of self satisfaction for completing the goal, but it will also help in the future with the consistency in practicing social skills like introducing yourself to other classmates. If a child is depressed or going through a funk, I would suggest setting a goal to wake up, make their bed, and have a hearty breakfast so at least one thing was accomplished and it forced them to kick off their day. Having a morning routine and becoming accustomed to it can result in people having something to look forward to when they wake up and be a little more motivated to get out of bed.
Tip #2 Be Yourself.
It can be tricky entering the start of a new school year and feeling out of place. From my experience, the best advice is to stay true to yourself. Many adolescents tend to fall under peer pressure or follow trends that may not suit themselves, because it is so hard to not want to fit in with the popular majority. The result of being yourself will bring you true friends who have similar interests, hobbies, and morals as you. If one were to put on an act or try to be someone who they are not would not only be lying to themselves, but also to others which will hurt more in the long run. High school allows you to discover yourself and grow as a person, but it is critical that those changes come from within.
Tip #3 Stay Positive.
Having a positive attitude will help you maintain your spirits even when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Surviving high school is like having 20 mini mid-life crises, but when you look back all the seemingly huge catastrophic events that one had stressed or been embarrassed about will most likely be able to laugh at how minuscule the issues actually were in reality. Keep in mind that high school does not last forever, so try to remain calm and relaxed even during stressful times. Make an effort not to dwell on the negative aspects of every situation. Instead, try to focus on what makes you happy and what you're looking forward to in the future.
Tip #4 Surround Yourself with an Effective Environment.
Positive friends can improve your self-esteem. Seek out friends who are enthused and optimistic about their lives. Negative people can be draining, especially in stressful situations like school. It can be difficult to know if you are surrounding yourself with people who have good intentions, but with a few of these tips it can help reassure oneself regarding the people they are spending their time with. Positive people can inspire you to be more positive as well. They express gratitude towards others and seek out experiences that make them feel good about themselves and their education. Take note of how you feel in the presence of others. Positive people should energize and entice you about the future. Being in a positive environment does not guarantee that you will never feel negative or poorly about yourself. If you're having a bad day, it's important to talk about it with someone you trust. Find people who will listen to you, such as friends, parents, teachers, or counselors. Sometimes venting to a person you trust can be beneficial and take the extra weighted stress off your shoulders.
Tip #5 Prioritize.
It is important to have a healthy balance with your school-life. To function optimally, it is important to strike a balance between the various roles that one plays. A student has many responsibilities, including partner, worker, friend, classmate, and so on. These roles often conflict, and a student must be capable of attending to a plethora of variables and assessing priorities. The school environment is stressful enough, don't be concerned about what you're not doing. Maintain your focus on the task at hand, don't think about work while in class or studying, and don't let work or school interfere with spending quality time with family and friends.
Some of you may have already started school while some may still have a few weeks. Either way, these tips will surely aid in making the transition from summer vacation back to reality much easier on your mental and physical health. In addition to these tips, I just would like to add that school and your grades aren't the only thing that matters! Focus on making sure you are happy and healthy above prioritizing all-nighters to study for that chemistry test. Good luck in the new school year!