Posted on: April 14, 2021
The end of the school year will soon be upon us. You’ll finally be free — at least for a few months — from the challenges you’ve seen in school this year and last. It will be another chance for something new. Hopefully, you already have plans to enjoy the upcoming summer, and ideally, you will get the opportunity to stop playing catch-up and to start looking forward.
Next fall, you will begin your high school career. Your parents, new instructors, and future schoolmates will all do their part in helping you through the transition. However, it is always important to ask yourself, “What can I do to set myself up for success in high school?”
When this school year ends, without the ever-present deadlines and classes, you can return to habits that are better for your body and your mind. You can certainly enjoy a late night here or there, but do aim for longer, more consistent sleep. Set the expectation that you will strive for the 8-9 hours — yes, nine — that a growing mind and body need. This includes downshifting in the evening to get yourself ready for quality sleep. Also, plan for more nutritional balance in your diet and more exercise in your schedule as well. Your body and mind will thank you.
As you begin a well-deserved break, think about how you will benefit from your hard-won experiences in middle school. Take some time to reflect on the highs and not-so-highs of the past academic season. What habits and routines worked out well? Which need to be adjusted? Did your time management and organizational schemes put you in position to win, or were you playing catch up? Which classes found you struggling? Where do you wish you had asked for help earlier, or even at all? More importantly, where do you anticipate challenges in the upcoming year? How can you prepare for those? Reading or self-study? Perhaps reviewing any surviving notes or meeting with an academic tutor to sharpen those skills is in order. In any event, don’t ignore troublesome issues, just hoping they go away. Take steps to turn them to your advantage. Examine not only the academic, but also the physical and social spheres of your life.
Take the Initiative
Don’t let the new school year happen to you. Decide to greet the year on your terms. True, you cannot control the many experiences you will have next year, but you can control what you do to prepare for them and as well as how you let events affect you. (As a reminder, a well-rested mind is more resilient to stress and more able to recognize and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. That means don’t forget to budget in sleep.)
Check out your new school’s website. Is there an orientation session? Is there assigned or optional reading you can do to get ready for the year? What kind of clubs does your school have? What can you learn about the school’s environment from its social media footprint? Do some investigating. Decide how you would like to present yourself and get involved in your new home campus. Deliberately decide how you will fit in. Clearly, academics will dominate your time in high school, especially the first two years. However, there will still be plenty of time to attend an event or interact with your new peers.
Congratulations on getting through this year! We are confident you will take the steps to get next year off to a successful start.