Back to School: 5 Top Tips for the Best Year Yet

Student Life

As the world returns to normalcy, so does going back to school. Every student is back to hearing the sound of lockers shutting and the murmurs of students in classrooms. Tests, homework, and pressure are already piling up. With the past year and a half of school being online, transitioning back to in-person school and activities can be overwhelming, difficult, and even scary. But, there is a way to overcome these very common feelings. These five tips are here to help.

1. Managing your time well is more important than ever

If you are a procrastinator, now is the time to improve your work ethic. Pushing assignments to the last minute is only going to add more stress to your daily life. Encourage yourself to stick to the schedule or to-do list you create. For instance, I have a rule for myself when it comes to schoolwork: When work is assigned, I complete it that day. Of course, if the task requires much more effort and focus than a typical assignment, such as a test or project, I will give it the appropriate amount of time that it deserves.

Managing your time well is an issue most students face at some point in their academic careers. It is best to try solving this problem earlier rather than later. We all have different techniques and strategies when it comes to completing homework and studying. But, having a strong work ethic that allows you to complete assignments easily is a skill we should all strive to acquire. Not only will it upgrade your grades and academic performance, but it will improve your mental health and well-being. When you are up late completing assignments, you have no time for yourself. On the other hand, if you finish your homework earlier in the day, you will be able to have some relaxing time towards the end of the night. Prioritizing your work is prioritizing your mental health.

2. Do not fall into the trap of over-working yourself

Transitioning from remote learning to in-person school is, unquestionably, going to be a challenge for many. Along with going back to school come concerns about academics and socializing. Workloads that seem impossible to handle weigh students down. Activities that students somehow have to juggle with their academics weigh students down. Most importantly, the pressure students put on themselves weighs students down. Eventually, there comes a time when too much is weighing a student down, and as a result, they lose all motivation to keep going.

Check in with yourself from time to time. You can do this between walking to classes or before you go to bed. Whenever the time is, set aside a small fraction of your day to ask yourself “How am I feeling?” When the only thoughts running through your mind are about school and work, you will easily become overwhelmed with nothing but frustration and distress. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

3. Take one day at a time

It is easy for students to think about their futures. If you are in high school, you may be thinking about college. If you are in college, you may be thinking about graduate school or jobs. While these are both reasonable and important subjects to keep in mind, do not let them rule your life. These thoughts can cloud your mind, as well as make days seem more stressful than they should be.

Take one day at a time. Do not get consumed by big goals that seem unreachable. Each day, focus on the little tasks. Focus on doing well in your science homework. Focus on annotating well for your English class. Focus on preparing for your math quiz. Focus on working on an article for the school newspaper.

4. Get involved in school

Trying a sport you have never played before or joining a club you have always been curious about will make days not only more exciting but balanced. Your to-do list should consist of not only homework but activities that you genuinely enjoy doing. Having extracurricular activities that you look forward to will motivate you to work diligently.

During my first year at a new school, I decided to join my school's newspaper. At that time, I was consumed by lots of stress. Being at a new school was stressful enough, but the additional pressure to make friends and adjust to academics made everything harder. But, by joining the newspaper, my workload felt more manageable, and socializing was not as straining.

It is extremely important to enjoy your school experience.

5. Give yourself breaks frequently

It is common to always feel that you have to be doing something; something that is productive. But, this will not allow you to have an enjoyable experience in high school or college. You have to learn that doing nothing is perfectly alright. We are not made to work constantly. Sometimes, rest is the most important gift we can give ourselves. Do not be afraid to prioritize your mental health over your schoolwork.

As school continues, it is vital to understand one thing: You are enough. You do not need to prove your worth through your grades. You do not need to prove your worth over how many tasks you cross off of your to-do list. You do not need to prove your worth by working for hours and hours without any breaks. You are enough. Remember that. When it becomes difficult to remember, these five tips are here for you.

Sophene Avedissian
5,000+ pageviews

Sophene Avedissian is a freshman at Westridge School for Girls. She is the author of Stand Tall, a book that highlights women's rights issues, an editor for Polyphony Lit, and a Los Angeles Times High School Insider. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.