There’s no doubt that a number of you have started school or are even well into school already. For those of you out there who are confused because your school doesn’t start until later, congratulations. You’re lucky, and I envy you.

I started school last week — the dreaded, infamous junior year — and it’s already been pretty hectic. Whether you’re taking seven AP, IB, honors classes or none, or whether you’re involved in all of your school’s extracurriculars and sports or only a couple, school can be really, really tough. Some of you might’ve participated in a summer program or taken summer classes or otherwise been productive, but if you pretty much just took a break from responsibility and hung out at home, like me, it’s quite the adjustment from the last couple months. Going from doing barely anything and seeing barely anyone all day to having a jam-packed schedule and being around hundreds of your fellow students for six plus hours a day feels, quite frankly, very weird.

If you’re in school already or not, try to take some of these tips into consideration for your upcoming school year!

1. Go in with the most positive attitude you can muster.

Be irritatingly positive, even. I came to school last week in an uncharacteristically excited mood and was met with a “Why are you so…peppy?” from my half-asleep, half-in-a-caffeinated-daze friend. Overall, you and your friends probably just aren’t super pumped to be back at school, but try to be anyway. Positivity and confidence are contagious, and if you go in believing that this is going to be a great year for you, the mood should eventually rub off on everyone around you.

2. Don’t save stuff until the last minute, especially summer homework.

It doesn’t take much common sense to realize that leaving your summer homework until the last week, or worse (the horror!) the last day, before school starts is a kind of awful idea. Yet I, and almost everyone I know, did so anyway. Teenagers aren’t exactly known for common sense or good judgment, no matter how many advanced classes we might be in. But it’s really just not a great way to spend your last day of summer, and you can become a bit stressed out before your classes even start. I cannot stress the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before your first day, although I know people who only slept an hour or two the night before school started while frantically trying to finish assignments. Please, for your own sake, don’t be those people.

3. Foster good relationships with your teachers.

Right off the bat, try to be friendly and open to your teachers. Disregard whatever you’ve heard from your classmates or about them. Go in with the expectation that they are lovely people who are going to pass on immense amounts of knowledge to you. Say hi to them in the halls during passing and thank them when you can. Wish them a good day or weekend and ask how they’re doing. At best, you’ll get them to know who you are and to like you, and you’ll be able to easily ask for help in class when you need it. At worst, you were just kind to a fellow human being.

4. Try to be genuinely enthusiastic about your subjects.

Honestly, this one comes pretty naturally to me. I have the ability to get extremely excited about things, like grammar or trivia facts or reading assignments, that many people consider boring. Maybe you do think these things are boring, but you have other non-academic interests or values that take up a lot of your time. As much as you can, try to make school interesting for yourself. Relate your classes to things that are interesting to you, and if you can’t do that, then remind yourself of your classes’ importance to your dream future career. If you have more options than usual on an assignment, take the opportunity to put your own twist on it and be as invested as possible!

5. Remember that everything’s going to be okay.

Whether it’s your grades or sports or clubs or your social situation, everything’s going to turn out alright; and, more importantly, you are going to be alright. I guarantee that no matter who you are, there are people out there who love you very much and who want the best for you.

Your value isn’t determined by the things you think so much about — your academics or appearance or activities. That’s not why people like you or want to be friends with you. The important thing is your personality and your behavior to people around you.

Every single day that you wake up is another day that you can help other people or improve yourself. It’s not another day that you just have to get through or where you have to be perfect. Take a few deep breaths, think about the important things, and remind yourself that you are cared about and valued. Then get out there and make your school year fantastic.


For more Germ articles about going back to school or about study tips, click here, here, or here.

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