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Making This School Year Your Best Year Yet

Oct 1

Making This School Year Your Best Year Yet
 

It is that time of year again: students all across the continent are going back to school! Some students look forward to returning to the school routine, while other students dread it; in either case, it is always best to be as prepared as you can be, both mentally and physically. Here are some things you can do to make sure that you are ready and that you have the best experience possible.

Do Your Summer Homework

In some cases, schools will give you a project that you have to complete over the summer. You might be asked to read a book and then write an essay about it, or the assignment could be as simple as reading ahead in a textbook, or working on some preliminary math problems.

Whatever work you have to do, it is a good idea to do it as early in the summer as possible. This way, you know for sure that you will be ready to hand it in on the first day back to school after summer vacation. Plus, not worrying about having to finish it for the entire summer will certainly put you in a better state of mind to enjoy your vacation!

Once you are finished, be sure to keep your work in a safe place that you will remember when it is time to get it out to hand in, such as your backpack or a segregated spot on your desk. You wouldn’t want to lose it and have to do the work twice, would you?

Back to School Gear

While it is not entirely necessary to buy a new wardrobe or a completely new set of school supplies every single year, the excitement and confidence that back-to-school shopping brings to students is undeniable and very important. The most important thing though, is that you have all of the necessary supplies, whether or not they are new:

  • Backpack. A good backpack is worth its weight in gold. It must be big enough to hold any textbooks, binders, and notebooks that you may need to carry back and forth between school and home. Additionally, it is good to have a backpack that is supportive and ergonomic; if your backpack is not very supportive or is worn incorrectly, it may hurt your back. Finding one that suits every need that you have is essential.
  • Pens and Pencils. Writing is, of course, an important part of every subject in school, and it is important to be prepared to write. The decision to use a pen or a pencil is often determined by age and/or subject. Younger students are generally encouraged to use a pencil so that they can erase any mistakes that they may make in writing. In addition, it is often a good idea to use pencil when working on math, where small mistakes early on can completely change your answer. In all other cases, many older students are encouraged to use a pen.
  • Highlighters, Markers, and Pencil Crayons. Your age and what your teachers require will determine which of these items you will need, but it is usually a good idea to be able to have different colors available to you. Younger students are often assigned work that involves using colors, and older students are required to highlight important parts of readings and notes.
  • Paper and Books. In some cases, particularly in the younger grades, you will be given notebooks or duotangs you might need for classes. As you get older, you will need to bring your own books and paper to classes. Older students are responsible for making their own notes, and so they are less likely to be given print-outs of lessons.

Get Back on Schedule

School_Schedules_ALL_340x280After two months of being able to stay up late at night and sleep in until early afternoon, it can be hard to get back into a routine to go back to school. During the week before school start, try to return to a regular schedule. Go to bed at your usual time, and get up at the time you will need to once school starts.

Doing this during time that you are still on summer break does not sound appealing, I know… but easing back into your school routine will make the change easier on everyone. It will also ensure that you are getting enough sleep, which is even more important during the school year than it is during summer vacation.

Plan Your Meals

school_mealsWhen you are planning out your schedule, make sure that you leave enough time to eat a good breakfast every morning. It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I don’t know who the first person to say that was, but they are 100% right. By eating a healthy and filling breakfast, you can set yourself up for a better day at school; you will be more attentive and better prepared to learn.

Lunch is also equally important. Make sure that you have everything you need to put together healthy, well-rounded lunches to eat at school. A good lunch will do for your afternoon what a good breakfast will do for your morning!

Make a Homework Plan

Most students do not look forward to doing their homework, but it can be easier and less painful to do if you have a plan for when and where you will do it.

Some students to prefer to do their homework right when they get home, so that they can be finished early and enjoy the rest of their night. Other students prefer to take a short break before starting homework, to give them a chance to relax after a long day. Whichever method you prefer, just make sure that you get it done!

It is also good to have a designated space for working on homework. Whether this is a desk somewhere in your home, or simply the kitchen table, having a pattern and routine can make it easier to focus on homework. Try to find a place without too many distractions so that you can finish your work quickly and efficiently.

Set up a Home Base

Excellent-home-school-self-design

Setting up a home base is a good idea to keep organized for school. This is the place in your home where you keep everything that you will need for school — your backpack, your books, and any other supplies that you may need. By keeping all of these things in one place, you can make sure that you do not lose any of them, thereby avoiding the potentially annoying situation of having to hunt everything down five minutes before you need to leave for school.

Your home base can be anywhere in your house, but it is best for it to be near the door, so that you can grab your things on the way out if you are ever in a rush!

Fill Out Paperwork

A lot of schools will send out paperwork that needs to be filled out before school starts. Different schools will require different paperwork, but some common ones are for emergency contact information and immunization records.

It is best for your parents (or you, if you are at least 18 years of age) to fill out these forms before they are due so that you don’t have to rush to fill them out the night before they are due at school.

Update Your Calendar

Make sure that you have all the important days of the school year marked on your calendar; this way, you can avoid any surprises later on.

The dates that you put on your calendar should include things like exams, holidays, professional development days, and of course, the last day of school — it’s never too early to start looking forward to next summer!

Think about Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular-activities-Engineering-studentIf you know what extracurricular activities your school offers, try to figure out what ones (if any) that you want to take participate in. It is good to participate in some activities, as it can help you to make friends with similar interests, and it will certainly make your school experience more fun.

On the other side of the coin, you should be careful not to try to pack in too many activities. If you are part of too many clubs, teams, or societies, then you might not have time to do all of your schoolwork, which should always be your first priority.

By planning what you want to do ahead of time, you can make sure that it will all fit into your schedule, and you will be prepared to sign up for all of the activities that you choose.

Look Back at Last Year’s Notes

Before the first day of school, get out your notes from last year and read through them. It’s inevitable that you learn more in school this year than you did last year,, but it is almost always based on what you learned the year before. During the summer, students can forget material that took them all year to learn

If you read through your old notes and work through some practice problems or questions, it can help you to recall some things you may have forgotten during the summer, and it can help you get back in the mood to do schoolwork.

Set Goals for This Year

Before you start school again, set some goals for yourself. What kinds of grades do you hope to achieve? What sports teams would you like to join? What skills would you like to build and improve on?

By thinking about these and other questions before you go back, you can set yourself up for success. Think of it this way: your motivation for succeeding will be higher if you have goals to work towards. Think about the grades you wish to achieve and you will be motivated to study extra hard for tests, and to spend more time on homework and projects. Consider which teams you want to be on before trying out, and you will be motivated to train and to practice during the summer so you will be ready for them. Choose certain skills to improve upon, and your focus in regards to meeting all of your goals will be sharper.

Figure Out How You Will Get to School

People get to school all different ways, but it is important to plan how you will get there ahead of time.

If you plan on walking, biking, or driving to school, make sure that you know the best route to get there. If you are going to walk, make sure that the route you choose is safe, especially early in the morning when you will be on your way to school. If you are going to ride your bicycle, make sure that you have a reliable bicycle and that your lock is strong enough so that no one can steal your bike. If you are going to drive, try to plan a carpool with other students who live nearby. This will help your parents save on gas and it will help you get to know your schoolmates! And finally, if you plan on taking the bus, be sure find out where the closest bus stop to your home is ahead of time. This way, you don’t have to rush to find it on the first day of school.

Whichever way you plan on getting to school, it is important to find out how long it will take you to get there. This may involve looking at a bus schedule, or actually going to your school. This will allow you to plan out your mornings ahead of time, so that you know when you have to leave and don’t show up late.

Get to School Early

It is generally a good idea to get to school early every day, but this is especially important on the first day. On the first day, you find out which classes you have, where they are going to be, and who your teachers are. If you are starting at a new school, it will be especially important that you take some time to figure out your new surroundings before classes begin.

Let’s not forget that you probably haven’t seen a lot of your friends since school ended for the summer. Getting to school a little early will allow you some much needed catch-up time with your friends!

If there’s one thing you should have picked up from the length of this blog post, it’s that there are LOTS of things that you can do to prepare to go back to school; however, it is always a good idea to do whatever you can to make the transition into the back-to-school routine as easy as possible.

If you do all of the things suggested above, you should be in a great position to return to school for another fun and productive year!

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Philadelphia, PA visit: Tutoring in Philadelphia, PA.