Summer: that beautiful time of year where students—high school and college alike—get to relax, destress, and unwind a bit. Fewer early wake ups, less studying, and lots of time to spend enjoying life with friends… But all good things must come to an end, and now, just like that, your first day of school has arrived.
The transition isn’t always easy, but here are a few tips to help you transform back into that mean, green, learning machine you once were before summer break started so you can hit the ground running this year:
1. Fix any poor sleeping habits you may have developed
I am pretty guilty of this myself. Personally, I am not much of a “morning person,” and I’ll find any excuse to hit that snooze button every morning. During the summer months, this temptation is much stronger for students: you can probably get away with staying up late and waking up at noon, at least some of the time.
But then the academic year starts, and suddenly you have to be up at 6? 7? 7:30 am, five days a week. The self-imposed jet lag from summer needs to be corrected, otherwise you head into your Geometry test as a sleepless, unfocused zombie. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are not going to have the mental capacity or energy to absorb new information and learn the material. I’d recommend giving yourself an earlier bedtime that allows for 9 hours of beauty sleep before you have to wake up the next day ready to learn… and start doing it as soon as possible!
2. Organize your week with a planner
During summer, each day can be an unpredictable adventure. One evening the group chat might suddenly ask if anyone wants to go see the new Deadpool movie, or partake in a spontaneous bonfire at the beach, or to split the check for some delicious all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. These activities with friends are always pretty spontaneous, which is what makes summer so great!
However, when school starts, your day-to-day becomes much more structured and requires some sort of organization. “Syllabus week” is a great time to take down any important dates such as chapter tests, quizzes, and when major assignments will be due. If summer had little-to-no structure, the it will be important to re-hone those organizational skills for school. Google has a plethora of useful planning and calendar software for students to use for free, which can be integrated into gmail accounts and can also be synced to smartphones. Look into learning how to use a calendar app to help keep your days organized; these are useful life skills that translate well into adulthood. Trust me, there is nothing worse than showing up to US History and not knowing there was a 6-page essay on the Boston Tea Party due that day!
3. Look on the bright side: you get to see all your friends again!
A positive outlook is the key to success. Some students dread the end of summer as it signifies the end of freedom from school. But school isn’t all that bad. After all, school is where your friends are! Where else are you going to find a bunch of peers the exact same age as you who have similar likes, interests, hobbies, and dreams with whom you can chat and form long term friendships?
If you start to visualize the time you spend on campus as a valuable time you get to spend with friends doing the things you want to do, the idea of going back to school becomes much more enjoyable. Sure you have to deal with teachers who give too much homework, but you also get to see your best friend in PE who choreographed that great routine during Hip-Hop last year. You might have to deal with random pop-quizzes and endless standardized tests, but you also get to sit behind that cute girl in your math class while you work up the courage over the next few months to ask her to the homecoming dance. School gives you a chance to form a Social Justice and Awareness Club with your like-minded friends, or to join the school band to express your love for music, or to play a sport to become a part of a team that is bigger than yourself.
After all, school isn’t just a place where teachers rank you from A to F on your academic performance, it’s also a place where you get to meet people and discover who you are along the way. So go ahead and join the underwater basket weaving club, or the video game enthusiast club, or try out for the dance team. Join as many extra curricular activities that interest you as you want to make school the kind of place where you want to be.
Plus, the good news is… you always have next summer to look forward to!