The start of a new school year can be an exciting time… new classes, new teachers, new friends, new school supplies!
As thrilling as a new school year can be, it can quickly feel overwhelming too. One minute you’re sitting down in a new class, catching up with a friend about what they were up to for summer vacation. The next, you’re being told that there’s assignments, tests, and projects due. On top of that, your counsellor is asking you to check in with them about your courses and graduation requirements. And just like that… another school year is in full swing!
Here are some pro-tips to help you get the school year started on the right foot, so that you can take on the year like a champ.
1. Get organized and plan ahead
While dealing with tasks as they come might feel manageable at first, this can easily pile up and cause some stress. We recommend getting organized and planning out your school year in advance so that you can always be ahead of the game. Not sure where to start?
• Using an agenda, notebook, or calendar (the one on your phone works!) for reminders
• Keep track of exam dates and due dates as soon as you’re told
• Mark down key dates (tournaments, vacations, birthdays) so you know to plan around them
Having things laid out can help you identify when you should start preparing for whatever it is that’s coming your way. There’s nothing worse than realizing that you had an important exam to study for, the day before. Also, make sure to check in with your grade coordinator/student counsellor at the start of the year to make sure you are on track with all course requirements! The last thing you want is to be halfway through a course only to realize it wasn’t even something you needed.
2. Manage your time wisely
Time management is one of the most valuable skills that you can build as a student, and in general. What’s that, you ask? It’s learning how and when to allocate your time to different priorities you have going on. Learning to set aside time for everything from schoolwork, extracurriculars, to your personal interests/life, will help you be a better student and reduce your stress. At the start of the school year, start by setting aside small chunks of time for your to-do list to avoid spreading yourself too thin. For example, you could set aside 30-45 minutes each night to get your homework done. Simple!
3. Be realistic and strive for a manageable routine, rather than a perfect one
More important than anything, you need to have balance; creating a realistic and manageable routine will be your key to success. Sure, it sounds great if we could all wake up at 6AM, make a delicious breakfast from scratch, and walk the dog… and I bet your parents or teachers would love it if you said you were going to study for 2 hours each day, but are you really going to be doing those things every day? I know I didn’t.
Instead of giving yourself the pressure of creating a perfect routine where you have everything completed, start with small and simple tasks to create a routine that you can actually get through. This could mean planning your outfit or packing your lunch and backpack the night before, so you aren’t rushing in the morning. Having an easy-to-maintain routine will help you prepare yourself for the future. Baby steps, people!
4. Get to know your teachers
I know how this sounds… but as a student you spend SO MUCH time with your teachers. Although you may not see it right away, your teachers can be some of your biggest advocates and supporters, outside of your family/friends. Teachers want to see you succeed and they are there to help you grow! Knowing that, get them on your side and build connections! We encourage you to strike up a conversation with your teachers and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Getting to know your them can help you feel more confident in class and in turn, help you learn better. Future you will also thank yourself when you know who you can go to for a teacher reference/recommendation later down the road. (Maybe for that Registered Apprenticeship Program you’ve been eyeing up :P)
5. Challenge yourself and try something new
Your time in high school is short but it’s the perfect time to try new things. Find something to be involved in and see where it takes you! Whether it’s the volleyball team, leadership, grad committee, a lunch-time club for robotics, drop-in drama improv, or even getting a PAID internship , getting involved and trying something new has a ton of benefits.
Not only does this help you learn and meet like-minded people but involvement in extracurriculars could help you later on too. For example, your new experiences could be included on your resume for a future job or help you increase your scholarship eligibility! The start of a new school year means new opportunities for you to try out.