September School Blues
Tips for facing that time of year again.
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"New school years can often be a time for new cliques to form"
It’s that time of year again that most dread (unless you’re going into TY - yay for you). It’s inevitable and something you just have to take on the chin and get on with it, there are many aspects to starting a new school year and can be cause for anxiety and stress for students and families alike, but fear not; we are all in the same boat and hopefully this article can talk you through the worst of it.
It can be an expensive time of year, with new books, stationery and uniforms all costing a small fortune. Book grants and second hand books can cut the cost without affecting your learning and study. Ebooks are also available for most school books nowadays to those of you who have access to them, it can lessen the load of your bag. Once you have all your new gear the best advice I can give you for getting some of that money back and making the purchases worth your while is to look after what you have!
Cover your books and keep them as clean as you can, that way when you have finished your course, however long that may be, books can be sold on to other users and make back some of the money it cost you. Be smart about your books, don’t go losing them or lending them to that unreliable friend whose locker is a black hole, buying another copy of a book you already have is slightly soul crushing (especially for whoever is buying the books).
I can only speak from a secondary school point of view, if you’re going into an exam year or otherwise get folders and write notes from the start, learn as you go and don’t leave everything until the last minute. Get a folder for everything, you might think it’s a pain but there’s nothing worse than going looking for that French sheet your teacher gave you two weeks ago, holding the key to your exam and discover that it’s missing.
Write notes, that’s all I’m going to say, you will love your old self for saving you time and effort by summarizing and highlighting the most important parts of each chapter. This will ultimately cut down the overall stress you feel before an exam. If you're trying to get back into the habit of studying, personally I would think an after school study group is the best solution.
Being in a school environment will mean no distractions, no running to the kitchen for snacks (so bring food with you, you can’t study when you’re hungry) no playing with the dog and the supervisor will ensure no chatting to your friends as well. Granted this can be a little expensive so if it isn’t an option for you, it’s not a problem. The main hurdle is to dedicate yourself to studying early on in the year so you get back in the game as quickly as possible!
If you’re going into TY let me promise you that you will be bored if you sit there and wait to be entertained. Go out and make the most of your free time, take up new hobbies and use every opportunity you get to do something new! Be adventurous, use every minute of your spare time wisely because never again will you have an entire year of your life to pursue your interests and learn new skills like you will be able to in Transition Year.
Try to get off on a good foot with your new teachers, remember they are people as well; teaching a class or a lecture with kids they have never encountered before and chances are they are pretty damn nervous. As well as that, for your own sake it is easier to approach a teacher you trust with questions and queries rather than constantly avoiding them because hostilities have grown to an unbearable level and you’d rather Google the answer at home than ask it in class. Try to avoid a hostile learning environment; it’s best for everyone.
New school years can often be a time for new cliques to form between friends and people drift and become tighter. If you feel you are on the wrong end of a relationship that you may feel is coming to a halt and you’re just not ready for it to end; talk! The words that hurt the most are the ones left unsaid.
Often becoming bitter and ignoring them is the end credits to a friendship so making the effort to have a conversation here and there could help keep your relationship alive. Of course there are some friendships that have had their day and maybe you feel it is time to let them slip away for whatever your reasons. That can be one of the best sides of school and a new school year is a whole new group of potential friends at your fingertips.
Social interaction is crucial to a healthy lifestyle and can be your saving grace when it comes to exam, peer and other pressures so don’t let your entire life become about study. Take time at the weekend to unwind, whether that is through exercise or going to see a movie or to a friend’s house, to get away from a sometimes-stressful study environment. These can help clear your head so when you decide it is in fact time to get back to the grindstone you are absorbing information easier and quicker. Joining clubs and societies at your school can also be a great way to learn something new and meet new people.
If you have made a change to a new school or are starting college, don’t panic. Everyone has been there and they know how you feel! Starting college is an exciting time but can cause some worry, just remember there are tons of people your age doing the exact same thing you are so lean on each other and get support that way. A transition to a new school can be nerve wrecking too but remember, people in general are nice and chances are someone will take you under their wing, and before you know it you will have a whole new group of friends!
A new school year can be stressful but it can also be exciting so embrace the challenges that lie ahead of you, the potential friends and skills you will learn and make the most it!