Now that Christmas has come and gone, we turn our attention to the new school year. The new school year almost always evokes a mixture of excitement and anxiety. We are excited to take on new challenges in a new grade. Still, at the same time, our anxiety kicks in because we have a new teacher, possibly new classmates, and, likely, new subject information that we’ve never encountered before.
Below are tried and tested tips from students and teachers to help you ace the new school year!
Sleep schedule: With the new school year around the corner, 11 January for inland and 18 January 2023 for coastal schools, it’s vital to get your school routine in check at least a week beforehand. For instance, start heading to bed earlier if your holiday bedtime was at midnight. Research has shown the benefits of good quality deep sleep for the replenishment of brain cells – it enables the conversion of short-term to long-term memories (crucial for recall during tests or exams!), and it boosts creativity! I used to sleep so early because my mom was strict with time, around 9pm.
Be a goal-setter: I remember when I was in high school, I wanted to be listed in the top ten for anything really. I wanted to challenge myself, prove to myself that I could work hard and achieve something if I put my mind to it. Goal-setting helped me to set a goal and create steps on how to get there. Whether you’re in the top 10 for a particular subject or decide to join an extra-mural activity. Have a goal because this gives you the motivation to push onto the new year
A study schedule: While it may feel like it’s early in the year to design a study schedule, prepare one now, and once you kickstart the academic year, put it into practice immediately! This practice will ensure you’re well prepared for tests, pop quizzes and exams, thereby reducing stress and workloads later.
Stop procrastinating: If you have homework or an assignment, be sure to start working on it the same day you receive it, and if you don’t understand the question or subject, the onus is on you to let your teacher know as soon as possible so they can set aside time to explain it to you. Do this before the homework is due! Also, be sure to spend less time on social media, as this can take up your time and attention, leading to procrastination!
As soon as I got home from school I would eat, do some chores, and then do my homework.
Ask questions: Never be afraid to ask questions. Ask your teacher about anything you need clarification about. Your teacher is there to guide you.
Read for pleasure: Aside from the obvious benefits of reading associated with reading texts or content prescribed by your school (acquiring knowledge, improving grammar, vocabulary, etc.), reading for pleasure is equally important. Reading for pleasure has been shown to decrease the symptoms of depression, grow our empathy, and improve our well-being and relationships with others. If you don’t have access to books at home or a library, there’s a great selection of free content (books, poems, plays, blogs) on our mobisite, www.fundza.mobi
Friends: Making friends and having a social circle in school will help get you better navigate the new school year. Create new and exciting experiences with them without getting into trouble, of course. Although, I had a small group of friends in high school, I made wonderful memories with them and I’m still friends with some of them today!
Jessie Rode, a grade 11 pupil shared that you should buy some nice new stationery. As stated before reading is important so Jessie recommends to read through what you did last year and buy the books you need. She further stated, “Get specific goals of what you want to achieve and start a sleep schedule. Focus on school work and not on things that will not help you succeed or pass.”
Cheryl Holly, a Grade 7 teacher, had these words of advice: Set a timetable for home regarding schoolwork. Be sure to have healthy eating habits and sufficient sleep. If your school has set books (e.g Hamlet) to read, then start reading the prescribed novel; start reading from day one. If possible, organise space in your bedroom conducive to completing work. You should try and participate in extracurricular activities; it helps you relax and recouperate. Another tip is to not post everything on social media as it may have serious consequences for now and long term. Choose your group of friends wisely and set realistic goals per term.
I hope this new school year will be a good one. Learn new things, get of your comfort zone and remember to work hard nad have fun!
Tell us: Do you have any back-to-school tips to share?
Read more here on fitting in in school.