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It’s that time of year again. Back to school ads popping up everywhere, peers anxiously awaiting their class schedules, and mountains of stress concerning how the year will turn out. But none of these factors have to make the upcoming year worse, and they shouldn’t. Starting out the school year right is the key to ending it right. But how exactly do you begin the school year flawlessly? I’m here to explain that. Whether it be about fixing emotional turmoil or how to not procrastinate, here are a few tips on how to start the school year the right way.

Have a positive attitude.

If you can’t have a positive attitude, then you can’t have a positive experience. Keeping a smile on your face and being an optimist no matter the situation will make future problems much better. Say you fail a test you studied your butt off for, and because of that one test, you hate your teacher for the rest of the year. You begin to hate going to the class, studying for the class, and you complain about the teacher you detest. And what do you get for it? Poor grades, no worthwhile memories, and an unestablished connection? Was it worth it to put all of your energy into being downbeat? If there are so many repercussions to having a bad attitude, then why have one? Now reverse the situation. You were upset about the test, but went to discuss the issue with your teacher. They helped you, so you continued to grow and prosper in the class. You made better grades, worthwhile memories, and a connection with your teacher. Was being optimistic worth it? You tell me which one you would rather be.

Of course, not every situation you will face in school will be this easy to deal with. There will be struggles and there will be times where you want to hate everything, but if you try your absolute best to stay enthusiastic, you may find yourself never facing those struggles again. Maintaining a positive outlook on every circumstance that comes your way will keep you going strong throughout the school season and aid you in steering clear of malicious behaviors.

Be prepared.

Like I previously mentioned, starting out the year right is the key to ending it right. If you aren’t prepared for the first day of school, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll be ready for the days to come. School supplies, summer assignments, and that positive stance I mentioned earlier are all components of being prepped for the academic year ahead of you. If you don’t have the notebook the teacher required you bring to class, you will not have the ability to take notes, and thus will not do as well on a test over that material. If you fail to do your summer reading, you will not be able to comprehend tasks and homework required of you once school begins, thus lowering your class average. Instead, read your required summer novel AND study the themes and symbols contained in its pages so you can fully comprehend its entirety on the first day. Be sure that all of your work is done AND checked over. Making and carrying out preparations are indispensable elements to being successful in and out of the classroom.

Don’t stress yourself out.

The beginning of another long school year is extremely stressful (especially for high school and college students) and daunting. Many pore themselves over how difficult their classes will be, that they are not educated enough, or how they will fare against other members of their class. But the truth is, there is no reason to dawdle on these negativities. What truly matters is how much hard work and effort YOU decide to put into each subject, no matter how strenuous it may be. Don’t waste energy that could be spent on positive attributes on worrying about next week’s test, because in the end how you do is how you do, and there is no way to change it. Stress has also been proven to lead to physical problems if there is an overwhelming amount of it (and trust me, as someone who has gone through this, you definitely do not want this to happen!).

Meditate.

Encourage yourself daily. Do not worry over things that have no need of being worried over. Focus on the positive and joyful elements of school life and the courses you choose to take. Communicate to yourself that you are not stressed. Communicate with others about your current feelings. Avoid those that are known for being stressed or stressful. Keeping the day-to-day anxieties at bay is crucial for striving to be a better student and not burning out during your year.

Be yourself.

Despite what many may say, being popular and fake isn’t everything. For most, the “popular” them isn’t the real them. By putting on a fake smile or attitude, people get attention and praise from their fellow classmates. But, what’s the point in being popular and adored if you never get to show the real you?

Staying true to yourself is the most vital part of having a favorable outlook and cutting out stress. Respond to situations how the AUTHENTIC you would respond, not how the POPULAR you would respond. By being your true self around others, you will surround yourself with friends and others that will admire and enjoy being around the unvarnished you, not the you that only cares about the way other people view you. That way, you will always have companions to lift you up and help you in times of need, and deep bonds of trust that will not be quick to vanish once you grasp your high school diploma.

Behave yourself.

In order to be a thriving and exemplary student, you have to act like one. Being friendly with your teachers and compassionate with your peers will aid you in the long run (and keep you out of detention!). Not skipping class and having respect for school property are also aspects of behaving yourself. Staying away from drugs and alcohol is an EXTREMELY fundamental concept to continue having a productive academic year. Drugs can, and will, ruin your life.

I came into contact with an acquaintance this year who was extremely talented at acting and performing in theatrical productions. For the sake of his privacy, we will call him Jake. Jake was recognized at the beginning of the year for being an outstanding instrumentalist, and was encouraged to continue in his musical studies. As the year went on, Jake began skipping and failing his classes due to his addiction to drugs. Jake rebelled, began to do inappropriate things, and unnecessarily break rules. He was eliminated from a component of the orchestra program and was not allowed to participate in his class’s concert performance. Drugs ruined any chance Jake had ever had of being a fantastic musician and a good student. Why would anyone want to end up in a conundrum like Jake’s?

Despite the fact that I have advised you, the reader, to behave yourself and stay away from trouble, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for yourself and others. If something suspicious is going on between a teacher and a student, or you see bullying occurring around you, don’t just sit back and let it continue because you were instructed to “behave yourself”. It costs a lot in the end to have bad behavior and disrespect the people around you. It doesn’t cost anything to be a decent human being and oppose what you know is wrong.

Don’t procrastinate.

Also known to many as the “Sole Cause Of My GPA’s Downfall”, procrastination is a highly despised element of many students’ daily lives. There’s always something new and more exciting than your English project, like that new Youtube video or your updated Twitter feed. Procrastination is on the rise now more than ever because of those little mobile devices that fit right into our pockets. Albeit these facts, procrastination is easily defeatable with a little effort and willingness to try proven time management and distraction prevention methods.

First, either turn off your phone and any other devices known for distracting you completely, or use the Freedom app available on IOS devices. Freedom is a blocker that will shut out any apps or ads that you don’t want distracting you for however long you’d like, and it’s completely free!

If you are one of those people that isn’t necessarily distracted, but instead unmotivated to do schoolwork, this next step is for you. Find some way to make your assignment exciting. Whether it be putting gummy bears at points in your textbook to reward yourself, or racing your friends to see who can answer homework questions the quickest and most accurately, creating a fun atmosphere around school work will motivate you to do it more often.

With these two methods, procrastination is a thing of the past. No longer will you have to beat yourself up because you didn’t do anything productive the previous night. No longer do you have to turn down your friends requests to the movies because you failed to do your math assignment. Huzzah! Procrastination doesn’t have to be the ultimate destroyer of your future if you don’t let it occur!

Make time for you. And only you.

School work can be daunting, especially for those participating in exceptionally challenging courses (IB, AP, other higher level courses, etc.). The endless stream of worksheets and projects seems like it could never possibly cease. Your stress levels are through the roof because around every corner there’s another test. You practically aren’t even a human anymore, you’re a school machine made to never. stop. working.

Stop. Stop everything that you’re doing. Clear at least 30 minutes every day to not be productive when your thoughts and actions stoop this low. You heard what I said. For a short while, don’t do anything fruitful. Watch a video that always makes you laugh, take a cat nap, take a bath or a shower, anything that doesn’t require effort and makes you feel a little more…mortal. Make time to bring you back to reality, to being human, not a robot that never runs out of energy. Any amount of time meant for your well-being is much more well spent than any homework assignment.

I sincerely hope that these tips will aid you in the fast-approaching school year. If I can make a difference in one student’s life, I will be more than pleased with my work. I want the students viewing this to think of the upcoming academic season as a new beginning where they can apply all these pointers to help them and those around them. I want the school environment to be a joyful place where the people attending it can work hard and enjoy themselves at the same time, and with this advice, YOU can do it. So go out there and use this advice to have the best school year that you’ve ever had!

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Written By

Maddie Loy is a current senior at a high school in Garland, Texas. She enjoys participating in theatre, drill team, and journalism on her own time. She plans to pursue a degree in directing theatre and a degree in journalism. She also wants to let you all know that IB stresses her out on the daily and that IB is a scam.

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