Back to School Tips for a Great School Year

The prospect of a new school year may seem very frightening, but in reality, there is nothing to be afraid of! School is what you make of it, so here are some tips that will help you make the best of this year.

If you are a new student/freshman: Be sure to make a visit before school and attend orientation.

It’s easy to get lost in a new school layout, so it’s important for you to take advantage of orientation. Make sure you are properly acquainted with where your classrooms, bathrooms, and other important structures are located so you won’t be overwhelmed on the first day of school. 

Surround yourself with supportive and positive influences. 

Who you are friends with greatly affects your success in school; being around people who are motivated and hardworking will cause you to behave similarly. 

School can be extremely stressful, and it’s important to have a support group who loves you and will help you through the hard times for your mental and emotional health. 

Remember that every year counts.

Many people assume that freshman year or senior year doesn’t matter for college applications, but that’s a myth. Don’t slack off — be sure to work hard and put in your full effort. 

Get involved with a variety of activities and choose some to be your main focus. 

In high school, there are so many options for clubs, sports, and other activities to participate in. Be sure to experience as much as possible — you might discover some new interests. If there’s anything you’re especially drawn into, dedicate more time to it! 

According to teachers and counselors I have spoken to, it is better to have depth than quantity in extracurriculars. Find your passion and stick with it! 

Be organized. 

Regardless of what grade you are in, you will likely have a very busy schedule, so staying organized will help you keep track of all your responsibilities. 

Manage your time. 

We’ve all been there — we say we will watch ten minutes of Youtube and somehow it turns into five hours instead. Good time management allows you to complete more with less time while retaining quality of learning, which results in more free time and less stress. With good time management, it’s a cycle of positivity that will result in more career and life success. 

Do your homework. 

As my AP Calculus BC teacher put it, don’t just go through the motions of doing homework just to do it, but genuinely put effort into mastering the information on it. Homework is essential for solidifying your knowledge in a subject and prepares you for tests, so the more effort you put in your homework, the more payoff you get from it! 

Ask questions and participate in class. 

Similar to doing homework, the more investment and effort you put into a class, the more you will gain back. Asking questions and participating will allow you to have a greater depth of learning while making class more engaging! 

When learning a new lesson, make sure to look over it the day of. That way, you retain the information better. 

This is actually proven by a scientific study! By doing this, you will lessen the amount of time you need to study the day before the test and master necessary information quicker. 

Try not to cram the night before. 

Cramming the night before only creates more stress and less sleep. Try to study a little throughout the course of several days; you will retain more information without the stress and sleep deprivation. 

If possible, take electives that you will truly enjoy. 

School is not just about the learning — it’s also about having a good experience and doing what you love. One of the top regrets that graduating seniors have is that they didn’t take a class they were actually interested in. Take classes you love, and every year in school will feel like bliss. 

Get sleep! 

Sleep is essential for maintaining good emotional, physical, and mental health. By sleeping more, you’re able to focus better in school and perform better on assignments due to a better functioning brain. 

Never lose sight of who you are. 

High school can be stressful and competitive, and it’s very easy to forget your values or your authenticity. Remember that your grades do not define you; you define yourself. 

Don’t compare yourself to others. 

It’s an easy trap to fall into; many students create a competition out of grades and extracurriculars, engendering a toxic learning environment. Remember that everyone has their own pace in life; the only person you should be competing against is the person you were yesterday. 

Make sure to enjoy yourself! 

Yes, school can be stressful and scary, but my past three years in high school also have been the best years of my life. You only live these years of your youth once, so make sure to have fun and make some amazing memories. Go to school dances, participate in dress-up days, try everything you possibly can — one day you’ll look back on these years and realize that it has all been worth it. 

Written by Audrey Xia – Lion’s Heart Intern and Blogger

Audrey is a senior high school student devoted to Lion’s Heart and writing. If she’s not volunteering, writing, or playing soccer, you can probably catch her rocking out to some new music or eating Asian snacks.

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