Back-to-School Basics for Parents and Students
Every student and parent (well most of them anyway) gets excited for the start of a new school year. Students are ready to meet their new teachers, new classmates, show off their new clothes, and start the year off on the right foot.
Parents are excited too, but for different reasons. Usually they are just thrilled to get the kids out of the house, as the summer months can seem way too long for some parents.
The following is a list of tips to help students have a successful year – and that might even remind parents of some important strategies they should be utilizing.
Be prepared. There is nothing worse than showing up somewhere and not being prepared. Like going to a pool party without your bathing suit or showing up to work without your huge presentation. The same goes for school. On the first day you want to walk in with your pencils sharpened, head held high, relaxed, and prepared to learn. The best way to do that is to gather information before the alarm buzzes on that first morning. Have all of your supplies (schools usually provide a supply list, especially for elementary grade levels), know your schedule for students in middle and high school, and know your mode of transportation to and from school (contact your school or district office for bus numbers and routes).
Attitude is everything. As I mentioned, most people are excited about the first day of school. Those are the ones with a huge smile on their face. The students sleeping on the bus are usually the ones that are not so excited to be back. It is so important to have a positive attitude, not only on that first day, but every single day. Waking up with a smile on your face and looking at the glass as half full can change the outcome of your day. It is so easy to get into a slump or let people around you bring you down. Having a positive attitude can make your day more productive, successful, and happy.
Cool, calm, and collected is the name of the game. Cool, calm, and collected is the name of the game. Breathing helps to conquer this step. Having a disorganized backpack, not knowing your schedule, freaking out, etc. are all things that can make the start of the school year a negative experience. Remain calm, keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, and know that you got this covered. School is the one thing students truly have to focus on and if they make it their number one priority it will reward in many, many ways.
Kick start your mornings. Get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Your brain and body are growing and you need your beauty sleep to reach your highest potential. Eat a balanced breakfast every day. It is true what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With that being said, focus on the balanced part of the meal. Having a pancake eating contest with your sibling before a long day of school is not the best plan. If you eat too much you can become sluggish and it will make the day a struggle to get through. On the flip side, skipping breakfast can leave you feeling tired and restless. Get the energy you need from a healthy breakfast without overeating and putting yourself into a food coma.
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Tackle your day. Students who excel at math are excited, alert, and hanging on every word their instructor has to say. Others cannot wait to dive into a good piece of literature in their Language Arts course and have discussions with their classmates about what they read. Some students crave their physical education course or art course and cannot wait to soak up the knowledge. The key to success is feeling excitement with every subject area. You can usually find correlations between the lab you completed in 1st period science, the math word problem in 2nd period, the short story you read in 3rd period, and the art work you created in 4th period. All of your classes, textbooks, assignments, etc. are important to your overall education and the person you will become, so make sure to tackle all of it, head on!
Organization is vital for success. I cannot stress this enough. If your school has provided a planner for you USE IT!! There is a lot of information, deadlines, etc. to remember and keeping it all organized is going to keep you from throwing together a sloppy presentation, cramming for tests at the last minute, or forgetting to get that field trip permission form signed. It pays to be organized and prepared at all times.
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Scholars are created, not born. It is the effort that you put into your education that should be praised above all else. I work with students daily who say, “I am just not good at math.” “Reading is not my thing.” “School work just doesn’t come easy to me.” I let these students know that those are comments that they can change. If you know of an area of weakness, work to turn it around and make it an area of strength instead. It may mean working a little harder on that subject, but you will benefit in the long run.
Challenge yourself to be the best you can be. Opportunities arise for every single person, every day. Whether it is volunteering to help with a local beach clean-up, trying out for the school play, accepting an extra credit assignment, etc. you should not let them pass you by. Not every opportunity is going to be right for you and you don’t want to overload yourself with too many extracurricular activities, however, there may be some things that cross your path that you may benefit from experiencing. Do not be afraid of taking on new challenges; you may be shocked at the outcome.
Harness your strengths and know your weaknesses. We all have certain areas we are great at and others we could definitely work on. Harness your strengths and show off a little. However, the things you struggle with also need some attention. You may not be a great artist, but you must take an art course (I can relate, stick people are as good as it gets for me). Don’t be afraid of the course; instead spend extra time working with your instructor, get tips from your classmates, and try new things. You may not be the next Picasso, but you can at least try and put forth your best effort.
Orientation should be a requirement. Attend your school’s open house or orientation day; this is especially important for new students. If the school does not offer these events, make an appointment to visit. If you are a middle or high school student or parent of one, get a copy of your schedule and find your classrooms so that on that first day of school you don’t have your face buried in a map all day…this could be hazardous as there are a lot of poles, brick walls, and other students that you can run into.
Outstanding self-worth is so important to a happy life. Each one of us is unique in our own ways. Making sure to focus on what makes us the person that we are, is more important than comparing ourselves to every single person we meet. We are all individuals, have experienced different lives, situations, experiences, etc. and we need to know that all of this build us into the person we will be tomorrow. It does not have to be a negative thing. We need to let our experiences guide us toward positive life choices.
Look both ways before you make any decision. During grade school, middle school, and high school there are going to be a lot of decisions to make. Do you take an advanced level course and challenge yourself? Do you try out for the school’s soccer team, football team, cheerleading team, drama club, etc.? Do you run for class president? Do you decide to skip school one day? Do you avoid your school work, earn poor grades, and eventually run the risk of not graduating? All of these decisions can affect your future. Think twice before any decision you make. You want to think about the outcome of those decisions and whether they will have a positive outcome or could possibly hinder your success. Overall, you want to do what is best for YOU, your best friend in middle school will not be paying your rent and bills after high school, you may not even know them any more at that point in your life. You need to focus on what is important to you and where you want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, and 25 years from now.
Post by: Kristie Knight, FLVS Counselor