The new school year always brings with it plenty of new challenges. And the year 2020 brings a new set of challenges we have never before experienced. There are so many unknowns this year and that can lead to a new source of stress all together.
If you are going to in-person classes, you may be concerned you will be sent home soon if there is an outbreak of Covid-19. Perhaps you are worried about getting sick, or wearing a mask, or the potential of having to switch to online classes.
For those starting out on-line, you have the stress of being home all day, managing a different kind of workload and a different kind of learning, and of not being able to have the social aspect of school.
Regardless of your circumstances, these 5 Goals written for last school year still apply today. They just may need to be adapted some for your current situation. It is still important to take your education seriously, manage your workload, work on finding your interests and making friends…perhaps just remotely.
In a poll we ran on TheHopeLine.com in 2019, 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 help make this the best school year ever?
First, it is important to shift any negative perceptions you have about school and try to appreciate it. I know that may seem hard, but an education is a privilege and learning new things can be fun. Taking your studies seriously WILL prepare you for a bright future.
5 Goals for a Successful School Year
With the right perspective in place, I recommend setting these five goals as the school year begins.
1. Go to class every day and take it seriously.
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. It can be hard to catch up and then pretty soon you might just give up. 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.
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.”
Then when you are in class, take it seriously and focus. Don’t surf the web, text, snap chat or whatever other distraction tempts you. 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.
2. Do your homework
Homework isn’t meant to be a punishment, it’s meant to help you learn the concepts presented in class. Set aside time every day to work on your homework. This is a great discipline you’ll be grateful for. It’s easy to get distracted and pulled away from what has to be done, but 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
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.”
3. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, teachers like students who are willing to raise their hand and ask for further explanation of something. Believe it or not, most teachers do really want you to LEARN and if something doesn’t make sense, they want to help you understand. If you aren’t comfortable asking in front of the entire class, stop by after class to talk to the teacher.
Shana wrote, “At first I didn’t want to ask for help. But when I realized the teachers appreciate it when we make an extra effort, it makes class so much better.”
Don’t be another one of those students that just tries to get by. 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. It does NOT mean you are stupid. Your teachers, or even tutors, are there to help you. Don’t wait until too late to get help.
4. Explore 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. Or maybe you’ve always loved science but decided to try a literature class and love it. View this as a great time to test out different activities and subjects you’ve always wondered about.
5. 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.”
Look for the people who 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. Check out this TRUE story about what happened when someone was brave enough to say hello.
You Can Do This!
Commit to these goals because how this school year goes academically is really up to how much time and effort you put in. Believe in yourself. You can do this! And as you meet some of your realistic goals for each class you will get a lot of personal satisfaction.
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.
If one of the challenges you face at school is making friends, please read my post on How to Make Friends.
If you are struggling with self-worth, please download this free Ebook from TheHopeLine.
Photo Credit: Alexis Brown