Now please don’t hate me, but in this article I’m going to be talking to you about the worlds most dreaded topic; back to school. Whether you’re headed to college, or off to high school, there’s a lot of things that you’re going to be facing. No one can deny that finding balance in your school, work, and social life can feel extremely frustrating. Once school is back in full swing, the stress will hit, and you might start feeling defeated. Since all of us have been in that position before, I thought I would help remind you of a few very important things about this school year, and the rest to come.
1. Not everyone learns by using the same methods.
Just because you don’t learn in the exact same style as the person who sits next to you, does not make any less intelligent. There are multiple different styles of learning. Some people learn better from doing- while others learn better while listening. Whichever way shows the best results for you, run with it. No matter which way your brain learns the information doesn’t matter. What really matters is that you’re gaining all the essential information, and that you’re feeling comfortable enough to preform all the necessary tasks to continue in your schooling.
2. That one test you failed, isn’t going to make or break your GPA.
Try not to get defeated after failing a test. There have been countless times in all of our lives where we’ve taken all of our failures to heart, and let it consume us. When it comes to a failed test or exam, there are other options then just feeling crappy. If you’re sincerely upset with your grade and feel confident that you could do better, ask a teacher if you can re-take the test. The worst thing that could come from you asking, is that your teacher says no, and you’ll just have to study harder for the next test. One failed test is not going to destroy everything you’ve worked hard for.
3. Do not let your failures define you.
Like I said, it’s easy to feel down or deflated after failing, but it’s most important to remember that failure does not define you. Receiving a poor grade, losing a friend, and disappointing someone are all a right of passage. I mean they totally suck, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just a part of life, don’t let it completely take over and define you as a person.
4. You’ll make some new friends, and might lose some old ones, that’s O.K.
Regardless of what grade you’re in, you’re always going to meet new people in your classes. It’s completely up to you to break the ice and start conversations with classmates and make some new friends. In addition to making some new friends, you’re probably going to drift apart from some of your old friends, perhaps even your best friend of multiple years. Always keep in mind that different people have their different reasons for a friendship coming to an end, and recognize that some friendships just aren’t meant to last-that doesn’t make it your fault for the split.
5. It doesn’t make you lame to ask questions, it makes you smart.
Teachers are there to help you learn the curriculum. If you’re having a hard time understanding a concept, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question. Many teachers that I have known throughout my schooling have admitted that they like the types of students who aren’t too embarrassed questions, and frequently, those students test far better then the students who sit in silence. Moral of the story-if you have a question, ask it (it’s only going to benefit you!).
6. Do your own work. Copying homework is only going to get you so far.
“Did you do last nights homework? Can I copy it?” Be honest, we’ve all said it a few times here or there- some of us more then others. As convenient as copying work is, it just isn’t worth it. You spend 5 minutes quickly scribbling down the answers, passing it in, and receiving the exact same grade as your peer whom you took the answers from. Teachers obviously notice the similarities, and if you’re sloppy about cheating you can wind yourself up in more trouble then the 10 minutes you saved yourself by copying was ever worth. If that isn’t enough to convince you to do your own work, just think of how much catch up you’ll have to play in order to ace your next test. If you just do the work to begin with, you’ll avoid all of these problems. So please, just save yourself the stress of being caught and last minute learning and do all of your work.
7. You’ll only benefit from being more organized.
Color coordination is your best friend when it comes to your school work. I know that organization doesn’t come easily to some people, but in my humble opinion, it’s a seriously important skill to have as a student. If you’re one of those students who needs an extra tip or two when it comes to organization here’s a few of mine:
- For each class, have a specific color binder and matching folder. On the side of the binder, write what class it’s for so you can easily grab it from your locker or backpack.
- Always use highlighters. Designate specific colors so you can quickly scan through your notes before your quiz. (i.e. yellow-key point, blue-term, pink-date etc.)
- While using your planner, set it up the way it makes the most sense to you. If you don’t understand it, you’re going to misread, and likely miss important tasks.
8. Don’t procrastinate. Just don’t.
This piece of advice is pretty self explanatory. We all push things off and tell ourselves we’ll accomplish it later, but then wind up wanting to kick ourselves in the head when we’re stressing to make a deadline on time, or can’t finish the task at all. Save yourself the unnecessary stress and start your projects, papers and homework when it’s first assigned.
9. It doesn’t make you any cooler to act disinterested in your studies.
Having that bad-a*s, “I couldn’t care less” attitude doesn’t make you look cool, and it definitely won’t help you meet the friends you’ll want to have lifelong. Personally, I’d much rather be friends with other people who we’re smart and have different educated thoughts and opinions on all the different things going on in the world. You don’t want want to be the kid who everyone dreads working with because they “don’t care” about their studies. It’s better to really be yourself, and engage yourself in smart conversations, then to look “cool” because you fall asleep in class and never turn in your work.
10. Always do the extra credit.
Even if you have a perfect 100% in your classes, always take the extra credit opportunities. You can never lose points from turning in extra credit, and honestly, who doesn’t love seeing that +3 points added to their grade-book.
11. Ask for feedback about your papers & projects.
Never be afraid to ask your teachers and peers for feedback on your papers or projects. If you’re unhappy with the grade you received and you can’t figure out why you lost a few points here or there, ask to review it with your teacher. They’re the individual who gave you the grade in the first place, so be sure to clarify where you could improve upon for your next project. It’s also a smart idea to have a friend or family member read over a paper or project before submitting, because odds are they’ll catch a few mistakes that you didn’t.
12. Your mental health is what matters the most.
Some days the stress just gets to be too much. If you catch yourself feeling physically ill due to high volumes of stress, it’s perfectly fine to give yourself a mental health day off of school. BUT, if you’re in high school ask a parent to call you out sick- don’t just skip! As long as you catch up on your work, one day of missed school a year isn’t going to mess with your GPA, and honestly, sometimes a mental health day is really needed in order to give yourself the time off your brain needs to reset and de-stress.
13. Not all teachers have the same teaching style.
Almost every teacher you will encounter in your school career will share some similarities, as well as some differences in their teaching techniques. One teacher may like to teach through experiments and hands on experiences, while another is constantly assigning notes and exercises for practice. Odds are, you’re going to favor one style of learning over the other. Just because you’re most susceptible to learning one way vs the other, doesn’t mean that you’re stupid for not understanding it the other. If you’re having trouble learning it the way its being taught by your teacher, ask a friend or visit your schools resource center/tutors who might be able to teach you in a way you’re more likely to grasp. There’s no shame in asking for help!
14. Always open your mind to new experiences.
Whether your in high school, college, or grad school and beyond, you’re constantly going to be inundated with new experiences, people and opportunities to excel at. Always remember to keep an open mind when an opportunity stumbles into your life. You really never know what you’ll wind up 5 years from now, so even if it doesn’t seem like something you’d enjoy in the moment, give it a try, you might wind up falling in love with it and making it your passion.
15. It isn’t always about the work. Find your balance.
With school work stacked to the ceiling, and a part-time job on the side, it’s really hard to find time for friends, or even an hour of piece and quiet. It’s always going to be a main priority to get school work done over grabbing food with some friends, and there’s some wisdom to that-so when can you make time to relax and just hang back? Since everyone has different schedules, you need to work around everyone’s busy lives and set aside some time for one another. My best advice to you is to plan a social event on the days where you know you have the least amount of work, such as a Friday evening, where you can leave yourself the weekend to catch up on work. If you ever start to feel like you’re neglecting friendships just so you can bury yourself in piles of work and get the best grades, reevaluate your scheduling and find a chunk of time to de-stress from your hectic school life. One night out with friends ultimately won’t take away from your studying. I mean, who can actually study for 72 hours straight without cracking from the stress?! (Not me!)
You’ve got this…
Whether you’re starting high school, headed to college or embarking on a new journey in grad school, these 15 important pieces of advice will surely apply, and help guide you through some of your roughest, toughest days. Nothing can break down a smart girl like you, especially if you remind yourself that you can get through this, just like you did the year before, and just like you will the next coming year. You’ve got this!