After what seems like ages of doing things on your own time, it's the moment you've been anticipating, the return of your day job—the beginning of another school year. Whether you're an anxious freshman or a confident senior, making the transition from summer to new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and a new social scene is bound to be stressful. Here are some back-to-school tips guaranteed to make gearing up to be the best you can be an easier task.
1. I will get enough sleep. New studies prove that teens need around 9 hours of sleep each night to feel rested. One study found that students who got Cs, Ds, and Fs slept about 25 minutes less a night than those who got As and Bs. Another showed that students who got enough sleep before a math test were nearly three times more likely to figure out the answers than those who stayed up studying all night.
It's a hard promise to keep but so very important. Back to school tip: Go to bed on time.
2. I will eat breakfast. This might be the most important back-to-school tip of all. Kids who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. They have more strength and endurance. They can be more alert, creative, and are less likely to miss school. Whether it's yogurt, whole grain muffins, cereal, or leftover vegetable pizza or a fruit smoothie, a good breakfast will set you on course for an easier day.
3. I will try to stay ahead. There are so many priorities and choices competing for your time. A back to school tip to not becoming overwhelmed is to plan ahead. Before the chaos begins, make sure your school supplies include a wall calendar or personal planner. Mark the due dates of upcoming assignments and exams. List any other time commitments you have—sports teams, volunteer activities, work, rehearsals, etc. When the calendar starts looking uncomfortably full, it's time to start saying no to any additional commitments. Saying no before you start suffering from the negative physical effects of feeling overwhelmed is the key to remaining sane.
4. I will shop smart. We know how important it is for you to feel like you look good. When buying a fall wardrobe, remember that when sales at department stores are scheduled to begin on Friday, items are usually tagged by Wednesday. Be careful not to overdo what's trendy. Better to spend a little more on something that'll last a few seasons. Eat light before you shop. You're more focused if you're not hungry. Back to school tip: Try the boy's department, or the kid's department. You'll be surprised.
5. I will forgive myself for not being perfect. Keep in mind, everyone is nervous. Everyone finds beginnings a challenge. Everyone struggles as they juggle the too many things that need to be done. Just don't forget that a new year is also a chance to try out new behaviors, make new friends and learn cool new stuff. It's a chance to master a new skill, succeed where you once failed, and grow into the adult you want to become. Good luck!