The new school year always brings with it
plenty of new challenges. Especially if you’re starting off at a new school,
some of these challenges can be pretty huge and scary.
Shawn wrote the feelings of millions of students:
don’t really like school to begin with, but the beginning of the year is always
the toughest. You don’t know a lot of people, and all the new classes seem
really hard at first. It gets better though.”
In a poll we ran on thehopeline.com, we
asked what you most want to avoid doing at school this year. More than half of
you answered: Slacking Off.
Obviously, you recognize it as a potential problem. So what are some ways you
can avoid slacking off, and to help make this the best school year ever?
People who skip a lot of classes, end up
Make a commitment to reach out to others
It can be extremely
stressful worrying if you’ll have any friends, or if you’ll be alone and not
able to blend in. This is especially true of students who are enrolling in a
new school. Believe it or not, 1 out of every 4 people is new at your school
this year. That means there are plenty of people who are facing the same kind
of fear and stress that you are.
Stephen said: “One
of the hardest things for me is to be alone at school. It can feel like
everyone is talking about me, or worse, ignoring me.”
Find these people—they are
usually sitting by themselves in the lunchroom, in the library, etc. They are
probably just hoping and waiting for someone to talk to them. Reach out to
them, find out who they are, and what they like to do, etc. Don’t be afraid of
being too aggressive. You will discover your new friends sooner than you think.
Taking time to reach out to them will go a long way in making the school year
great for that person, as well as yourself.
Get to know your teachers
Let them know what your
fears and expectations are for the class. Don’t be another one of those
students that just tries to get by. The more involved you get in a class, the
easier it will be to stand up to its challenges.
And don’t be afraid to ask
for help. Most teachers want you to succeed in their class. Shana wrote: “At
first I didn’t want to ask for help. But when I realized the teachers
appreciate when we make an extra effort, it makes class so much better.”
The whole point of learning
is to develop knowledge about things you don’t know. On top of that, everybody
processes information differently. So if you feel like you’re not catching
something, or missing some details, it really is quite normal. Your teachers,
or even tutors, are there to help you. Don’t wait until too late to get help.
Go to class everyday
People who skip a lot of
classes, end up skipping life. When you miss a day, or even a class, it’s easy
to fall behind. Nobody likes to feel like they’re behind, or in the dark. The
best way to stay with the flow of the class is to be there! If you have to miss
a class, make sure you meet with your teachers to find out exactly what you
missed and what you can do to catch up.
April said: “I
used to think I was cool for skipping class. Then I realized I was just hurting
myself. The temporary fun I had only made me feel worse when I was in class.”
By far, the best place to
sit in a class is up front. It will be easier to focus there with fewer
distractions. It also will show your teacher you are trying, which can lead to
him or her taking the time to give you extra help when you need it.
Another thing that helps
is to take notes during class – even if your teacher doesn’t require it. This
exercise will increase your concentration, and will greatly improve the amount
of information you retain. You don’t have to write down everything, but keep
track of the main points. Write down questions you have, and then the answers
to the questions when you get them.
Do your homework
Homework isn’t meant to be
a punishment, it’s meant to help you learn the concepts presented in class.
Make sure you find out exactly what the teacher is expecting of you, and work
to do the best you can.
Mike said: “I
thought only super smart people could be organized. But it’s really simple to
just keep track of everything I need to do, in one place. It helps a ton.”
Don’t wait until the last minute to finish your
work or study for your exam.
Make time to study every
day. This is a great discipline you’ll be grateful for. Set aside a particular
time everyday to work on your homework. Without a set schedule, it’s easy to
get distracted and pulled away from what has to be done. Don’t wait until the
last minute to finish your work or study for your exam. You’ll be stressed out
and won’t get as much out of what you’re working on.
and try new things
Use your time in school to
explore various interests you might have. Maybe you’ve been trapped in the path
of just doing sports, but you’d like to try something in the music department.
This is your chance! View this as a great time to test out different activities
you’ve always wondered about.
Involve your parents
Keep your parents informed
of what happens at school, what your classes are like, what challenges you are
facing, etc. Students who have involved parents usually do better than those whose
do not. If your parents won’t get involved with you, find an adult who will.
Remember, it’s up to you
to decide what kind of school year you’re going to have. This much we do know,
having a great education greatly increases your chances of being successful in
life. Make the most of it while you can.
My next blog topic: How To Deal With Anger. Do you have
anger problems? What makes you angry? How do you deal with it? What help have
you found to manage your own personal anger? Please let me know. Your comments
will greatly help me as I write. Thank you!
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