Tips to start the school year refreshed, organised and motivated

Jill gives some tips for making the most out of your school year

Written by Jill Cushen


It's nearly time for the arrival of a new school year. It’s important to begin the year positively, with good habits from the beginning. Perhaps you have regrets of last year’s study habits, friendships or your overall wellbeing.

Kick off the term in a new mindset with these helpful tips!

Start fresh

Leave the thoughts of June behind and start this year with a clean slate. Don’t beat yourself up over last year’s exams because it is never too late to improve. Nobody is perfect at everything so try to play to your strengths. Try your hardest in all areas and recognise your achievements. It can help to focus your thoughts on the positives you have taken from last year such as a subject you did well in or a new friend you made.

Withdraw yourself from toxic relationships and be open to new friendships. People are usually influenced by those around them so try hanging out with someone new if you’re not comfortable with your current friendships. You might find a new friend through your common interests such as a school subject or sport.


Try to get organized for the year ahead before going back to school. Make sure you have bought books, copies and stationary in plenty of time. This will help to avoid stress in the future if you have everything you need at the start of the year.

Prepare study plans and timetables before starting school to avoid wasting time. Create a simple table on a computer or if your artistic design it yourself. Avoid making your plan too rigid or demanding. Keeping it flexible allows you to stick to it better. Try choosing 2 or 3 subjects per night for at least 30 minutes each. Remember to include breaks and choose fewer subjects on nights you have extracurricular activities.

Study habits

Create a comfortable study environment and make sure you have some natural light. This will help you to be more productive when you’re studying.

Make a study plan for the term and set yourself goals so you have something to work towards. Do not be over ambitious as you might tire yourself out and start procrastinating. Put a display board over your desk where you can stick up reminders and notes and make sure you have made your timetable and study plan visible. Use a timer to help keep your study periods to 30 minutes each. This will help you stay interested.

Find the best method of studying that works for you by trying out mind maps, flashcards, writing the information out or saying it out loud. Begin with the subjects that you’re not so fond of and always give yourself breaks.

Try to avoid studying late into the night. Close your books around 9:30 and enjoy some time to yourself.

Become active in school

Join clubs or teams in your school. If you’ve always wanted to join the basketball team or the drama club, now is your chance. Ask your school about the type of activities you are interested in as you may be surprised with what already exists. You will meet new people, learn new skills and be able to take some time away from your academic life.

Get involved even if your friends are not. Activities in and outside school are a great way to meet new people. As long as you are enthusiastic about it you will fit in with the club or group. The start of the school year is a great time to join as you won’t be the only one who is nervous.

If you have found it difficult to balance activities with school work in the past, make this year different. The best way to do this is to manage your time wisely. Study less on days with training and take on an extra subject the next day. You may even find that taking time out helps to motivate you. However, try not to take on too many extra activities as it may cause your school work to suffer.

Develop a good routine

Make sure to establish good habits for the year ahead. Try to get up and go to bed at a fixed time each day as it has been proven to improve overall health, concentration and happiness.

Eat a healthy and filling breakfast and bring a healthy lunch. Try to include exercise in your daily routine as this helps not only with your health but with your mind and performance in school.

Take at least 30 minutes before you go to bed to relax. Go for a short walk, read a book or even watch some Netflix. Avoid going to sleep straight after studying as it is more difficult to switch off after it.

Find ways to manage stress

It is hard to avoid times of stress during the school year. Try to identify what are the main things that causes your stress whether it is exams, too much homework or a deadline. Knowing what is causing your stress can help you to reduce it.

Find new ways of reducing stress that you can use throughout the year. This may be simply by managing your time better or getting more sleep. Other ways may include speaking to someone about what’s causing you stress, taking a short nap, going for a walk, having a good cry or watching an episode of your favourite box set. Whenever you begin to feel stressed, take a moment for yourself. Don’t try to push through without relaxing first, as holding in your stress will only cause it to continue.

Start now

Avoid spending your final few weeks thinking negatively or feeling anxious about school. Think of how you can begin the year well organised and with a clear mindset. Write a list of the things you want to do before school is back such as meeting up with a friend or going to the cinema. Start organising your school items and plans and use the remaining time wisely. Try not to feel like everything you enjoy is coming to an end. If you manage your time and work hard there is plenty of time for all your interests at the weekends.

And remember, the next school break is right around the corner.   

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