How to prepare for a new school year

Tips to get you back in the mindframe for school days, now holidays are over.

Written by Elizabeth MacBride


Ah, it’s that time of year again. We’re now almost halfway through the month of August and, for a lot of us, our summers are starting to wind down and we’re starting to prepare for the imminent doom of school re-commencing. In a few weeks’ time, I will officially be a 5th year student, and my days of TY tomfoolery will be over forever.

No more getting out of classes because of “computer assignments,” no more skipping P.E. to help stamp letters to send out to parents, and no more staying up til all hours every night watching my favourite TV shows and films. No, those days are behind me, and as of right now, all I really have to look forward to is exams, books, teachers and the inevitable Leaving Cert. Fun, fun, fun.

But even though there’s a lot of work in store for me, I’m still hopeful for this year. Believe it or not, it can get a bit boring during the summer, especially when loads of your friends are off gallivanting and you’re stuck at home, eating popcorn and obsessively trying to finish playing Legend of Zelda (Nope? Just me? Alright) and it’s nice to have the routine of school to get you out of the whole sleeping until 3pm thing. On the other hand, I’m not sure my body is properly equipped to handle waking up at 7am anymore.

Alright, so because I know I’m not the only one half dreading/half looking forward to starting school, I think it’d be a good idea to share a few of my tried and tested methods of preparing for the new school year:

Sleeping patter

A week or so before school starts again, try adjusting your sleeping pattern by going to bed early and waking up that bit earlier too. A 3am bedtime is not unusual for me during the summer, but during the school year it’s a whole other story. You really need to ease yourself into the earlier mornings and nights, so try going to bed at maybe 11 or 10, and in the morning set your alarm to something close to the time you’d normally be up at for school. I find it really helps to settle into the wake-up routine, and it makes it a lot less excruciating when you have to do the real thing.

Start reading

Read up on some of your books! Nerd alert, I know, but even if you skim through some of your schoolbooks, and try to take some of the information in, it can give you a great head start to the year. Try to familiarise yourself with what you’ll be learning for the next year, maybe even jot down a few notes if you’re feeling extra geeky.

Get your study area ready

Set up an area for you to do homework and study. Right now I’m staring at my “study desk” in my room that’s cluttered up with makeup, bracelets, a woodwork project, books, a bra for some reason, bath salts, a bottle of lemonade, a t-shirt and a big poster of The Joker. Hopeless. Always de-clutter and absolutely never become like me. It’s really important to have a designated area for yourself so you can come home and get straight into your work, instead of messing around or trying to get settled in somewhere else. Once I clean my place up, I might hang up some whiteboards or corkboards so I can stick up any notes that might be useful. It’s always helpful to decorate your space too, with stuff you find cheerful, so it makes studying seem less torturous and horrible (which it is).

Avoid distrctions

This one means no phones, no wifi, no TV, basically no electronic devices at all times. If you have a TV/computer/whatever in your room, try to resist the temptation. When I was studying for Junior Cert, I would’ve done anything besides studying just so I wouldn’t have to do it. Like, I’m pretty sure I watched a documentary about horses instead of studying once, that’s how bad it got.  Allow yourself a certain amount of time on the electronic device of your choice when you’re finished all your work but while you’re still busy, avoid them at all costs.

Start the day right

Try to eat breakfast every morning. A lot of times people don’t have time for breakfast in the morning when they’re heading out the door, but it’s important to try your best to make time, or at the very least, bring something in to eat on the sly during your first class of the day. It’s definitely never a good idea to start the day on an empty stomach, and if you eat, you’ll get the energy and nutrients your brain needs to function. You’ll feel more tired and out of it if you don’t eat in the morning, so always make a conscious effort to even just grab some fruit or yoghurt if you’re absolutely rushing out the door.

Be optimistic

Keep an open mind, be friendly, and, most importantly; be optimistic! Don’t start your new school year thinking about all the crap things you’re gonna have to do, just try your best to focus on all the great times you’ll have when you’re back with all your friends again! I know I’ve mostly talked about work and studying, but definitely don’t forget about the social side of things either. There are always going to be people in your year you don’t like, but honestly, if you’re just nice to everyone, it’ll make your life a whole lot easier, and maybe you’ll even get to make friends with people you never thought you’d be friends with! Just keep an open mind, and be the kind of person you’d like to be around.

Good luck with school this September, I hope you have a great year!

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