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10 Steps to Starting a Great School Year

Aug 13, 2012

As the summer winds down, students everywhere are slowly accepting that the school year is almost upon us. Visions of freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebooks begin to impede upon the sandy beaches and graduation parties of summer. But that's okay, because the coming school year holds a lot of promise too. Let's take a look at 10 steps you can take to start a great new school year!

1. Refresh Your Thinking

This is a new school year, you should treat it like one! If your last year at school was disappointing, frustrating or negative in any way, forget about it and look forward instead.

2. Change How You Act

If you had issues last school year, try not to blame others (like, say, your peers or teachers). Instead, take matters into your own hands and try a new approach. Be outgoing, have fun, and put all of your focus into your time at school. Changing the fate of your school year starts with changing yourself.

3. Set Lofty Goals (But Not Too Lofty)

Before classes even start, try setting some educational and social goals for yourself. Some examples are: “I want to make the honor roll” or “I will put myself our there socially”. By setting concrete goals, you will never lose sight of what exactly you are trying to do with this new school year. However, make sure not to set your goals too high. If, for example, you decide you want to be Valedictorian but only have a 3.0 GPA, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.

4. Put Forth Effort in the Classroom

Academic success starts in the classroom. There is no better time to learn than when a knowledgeable teacher is standing in front of you and imparting knowledge. So stop fooling around with your classmates and start taking notes and asking questions instead! The effort and focus you put forth here will translate into your homework, tests and overall grades.

5. Be Open-Minded

Some students have unfulfilled social lives because they don't give everyone a chance. They won't hang out with certain types of people because they're “uncool” or “different”. But school is a melting pot full of opportunities to meet different sorts and expand your mind. Of course, make sure you aren't TOO open-minded, you could end up with the wrong crowd!

6. Study

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, and the academic world is no exception. So practice those math exercises, read those short stories, write those essays and rifle through those practice notecards. There is an extreme positive correlation between effort put in at home and grades received at school, don't forget that.

7. Relax On Test Day

Many students become anxious basket cases at the mere thought of an upcoming test. If you're like this, you may remember the time you took perfect notes and studied until the wee hours of the night, only to freeze up once that test hit your desk. The best thing to do is take tests off that pedestal. Sure each test is important, but there will always be another one. By reminding yourself that you can afford mistakes, you will release most of that anxiety and have a clearer mind that will lead to a better grade.

8. Put Yourself Out There

If you had trouble finding friends or fitting in last year, the best thing you can do for yourself is join some student group. Every school has great options for sports teams and student organizations, so find one that you like and stick your neck out there. Once your nerves fade away, it will almost certainly lead to new friends and great experiences.

9. Start Strong

If your new goal is to do homework right when you get home from school every day, start from the first day. Even if it's something as simple as making a book cover or reading over the syllabus, make sure you do it right when you get home. This will set the tone for every following day of the school year.

10. Have Fun With Back to School Shopping

While back to school shopping has traditionally stood as a sort of funeral for summer, it doesn't have to be like that. When you go to buy all your new school supplies, make sure to indulge yourself a bit and have some fun. Buy the highest quality pencils and pens, go for the decorative folders and binders, and make sure not to buy the cheap stapler or three-hole punch. By having the best and coolest school supplies, you are setting the tone for a great new school year.

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