Summer is starting to wind down and all-too-eager parents are swarming local stores to buy colorful school supplies for their children. As students, we are beginning to realize that waking up early and hitting the books is just around the corner. We try to squeeze in day trips to the beach, dozens of pool parties, evening cookouts, and watching the fireworks from the Ferris wheel at an amusement park so that we can really feel like we lived our summers “to the max”. But alas, as you post your summer pics to Instagram, you see more and more senior photos and a few sponsored back to school advertisements: a sign that the inevitable is coming.
As a student, you have some options as to if you attend public school, are homeschooled, or attend private school. Regardless of how you choose to learn, it’s an inevitable part of your life. If you are a student who is in denial about returning to school so soon, here are ten tips and tricks for adjusting back to a regular school routine.
Tip #1: Start going to bed earlier and earlier each night and set an alarm to get up eight or nine hours after you attempt to fall asleep. This will allow your body to get used to a normal sleep routine so that you don’t stay up until one in the morning on the first day of school and have to trudge around like a zombie all day. It also will ensure that you will get the proper amount of sleep to function and reduce your chances of being tardy to school.
Tip #2: Lay out clothes and shoes for the next day the night before. Doing this allows your body to sleep longer because it takes less time to get ready in the morning. No more changing your shirt three times and missing breakfast! A helpful hint for this back-to-school tip is to check the weather forecast the night before so you know what to expect and can make a better-informed decision.
Tip #3: If you pack a lunch when you go to school, pack it the night before and make sure you have plenty of food in the house that you can bring to school. This is also a morning time saver, and we all know how much teenagers value extra sleep. If you have plenty of food, you can pack a full and balanced meal the night before. Stick it in the refrigerator (if necessary) and just grab it on your way out the door in the morning. Efficient and effective.
Tip #4: Make sure to eat breakfast in the morning. Whether you decide to eat at school or make yourself something at home, at least put something in your system. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and without it, your brain and body cannot function at their best. If you’re not hungry in the morning, pack something! It could be as small as a protein bar or a piece of fruit. When your body is awake and active, it’s important to be fueling your system. A lot of teachers recognize the importance of this and allow for small snacking in the classroom.
Tip #5: Make a calendar of what your school week is going to look like. This includes when you have to be in school each day (this will only vary if you have any off periods or privileges), after school activities, your work schedule, and a day off. If you know your schedule for the week, you can make plans when you are available and manage your time to work on projects and study at home, which eliminates having to cram the night before and waking up too tired to retain anything the next day. Plus, a day off is important for self-care and relaxation. Keep your life as balanced as possible.
Tip #6: Compare your schedule with your friends and ask for recommendations or opinions about teachers you may not have met before. This can eliminate some of the anxiety on the first day of school because you will know some people (ideally at least one close friend) in your classes and you will have at least a small idea on who the teacher is before you walk into their classroom and see their face for the first time. However, don’t always believe everything you hear. Another student may have had a very negative experience with a teacher that you’ll do really well with. It all comes from experience and personal opinions.
Tip #7: Wait to get most of your school supplies until after the first day. We’ve all had those teachers who decide you need certain utensils, a writer’s notebook, or a one-inch binder for their class and you don’t want to spend money on things you’re not going to use. On the other hand, it’s not a bad idea to get a few supplies ahead of time. In fact, I recommend getting a multiple subject notebook, an assignment book, and some pens and pencils before the first day so you don’t go completely empty-handed.
Tip #8: Set goals for yourself to strive towards in the upcoming school year. These can be things as simple as staying on the honor roll, or as difficult as getting projects done at least two days in advance and proofreading them. With goals set, you have something to strive for during the year. It also allows you to focus on the positive aspects of going back to school and potentially, the areas in which you need improvement in and want to work on most this year.
Tip #9: Get involved!! Some of us are already in pre-season for fall sports and the drama department is holding auditions for the fall play The People the first week of school. On top of that, clubs are restarting and members are announcing informational meetings and sign-ups. Don’t be afraid to try something new! It’s a great way to be “in-the-know” at your school, as well as do what you enjoy and make new friends in all different grades. For example, writing for The Talon! We have students from all grades involved in all the aspects of writing and publishing which is not only a great way to make new friends, but to learn more about the English language.
Tip #10: Embrace your individuality. This does not have to mean standing up in front of a crowd and stating your beliefs, it just means that you should be yourself and not be afraid of what others might think. It’s important to remember that the people who stand out are the ones that get remembered and sometimes recognized by colleges. High school is an opportunity to explore what you like and figure out a path for your future and your career.
More often than not, students everywhere are dreading going back to school because we don’t want to do work that requires effort or alter our sleep schedules that are adjusted to party all night and sleep the day away. Of course, there are a few of us that did nothing all summer and are ready to go back to school because it gives us something to do, but trust me, nobody is thrilled to be sitting in a classroom before eight o’clock in the morning. But look on the bright side, there’s probably at least one person you haven’t seen this summer and are looking forward to catching up with. Besides, this year is definitely not going to be the same as last year. You’re in a new grade now with new classes and new teachers, and maybe some new technology or programs that didn’t exist last year. Maybe you’ll become friends with the new kid or help a lost-looking freshman in the hallways. The freshman class is probably dreading school the most out of all of us, and who can blame them? It’s a brand new school with a lot of nerve-racking components and intimidating older kids.
No matter what grade you’re going into, if you can remember these ten tips as you’re preparing for school or walking into the big double doors on the first day, you’ll be much more confident and comfortable in an environment that can be stressful and confusing. If you express yourself, keep your head up high and embrace who you are, you’ll be ready to go back to school and maybe, just maybe, even enjoy it a little.