- Reach Out!
Finding friends is important, not only for our happiness and wellbeing but also for our success. One great way you can find people with similar interests is by joining a student organization. For example, last year I started my first year of college and I hardly knew anyone on campus! However, when I joined my school’s business club and accepted invitations to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society, I quickly made lots of friends. Another great way to meet people is by joining and/or creating a study group for a specific subject.
- Get Involved in Your Community.
In addition to community service looking excellent on a resume or college application, it is also a very fulfilling way to spend your time! Whenever you have time off from school, try your hand at volunteering. Many organizations are always on the lookout for helping hands and will deeply appreciate the time you devote to their cause. In the recent past, I have volunteered at animal shelters and food banks in my community.
- Ask for Help!
If you are struggling with something, ask for help! Do not be embarrassed or feel ashamed because you are unable to figure something out or are having trouble with a class. Use your resources! There are tons of websites and apps you can use to help you solve problems, in addition to teachers who are more than willing to help you succeed! Many schools also have tutoring centers where you can get free or low-cost assistance with your classes.
(Note: Chegg, Photomath, Study, Prezi, and Quizlet are some of my favorite apps/websites to study with.)
- Be Kind. Don’t Judge. Support Everyone.
Doing these things should be obvious, but I wanted to compile them into a tip as a friendly reminder. Being kind, not judging people, and supporting everyone are universal things we can do to make the world a better place. We do not have the ability to fully understand why people do certain things or make particular decisions, simply because we are not them. We have not lived through their circumstances or witnessed everything they have seen and felt, thus we cannot expect to fully grasp their reasoning all the time. Regardless of whether the beliefs or actions of others mesh well with your own, always try to be as kind as possible and offer your support. Also, if you have nothing good to say or do, don’t say or do anything.
- Avoid Peer Pressure and Toxic Environments at All Costs.
Falling prey to peer pressure and/or involving yourself in toxic environments are both definite sources of stress and discomfort. Don’t start off your year this way or spend any part of it like this. Distance yourself from toxic people and relationships and from opportunities in which people may try to take advantage of you or convince you to do something you don’t believe in. Stand firm, be who you are, and take care of yourself. Additionally, always try to think critically and make smart decisions in your best interest. Base your actions and choices on facts and not the opinions of others. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!
- Don’t Stick it Out!
If you are getting bullied or think you may be struggling with mental health, get help immediately. Don’t try to put on a brave face every day, conceal your emotions, and pretend like everything is fine when it isn’t. Even if you think there is no solution to whatever problem you are dealing with, it is likely something can be done to help. Go to someone you trust (a loyal friend, a parent or family member, a guidance counselor, or your favorite teacher) and let them in on what is bothering you. Even if they are unaware of a solution, they might be able to point you in the direction of someone who does. It is also beneficial to share your feelings with others because it is very pleasing to get things off your chest and pour your bottled-up sentiments out into the open instead of letting them fester and grow on the inside.
- Don’t Change to Impress People. Don’t Follow the Crowd.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in situations where I would have gotten better responses from people had I done something differently. You will run into difficult circumstances such as these in all parts of your life, from elementary school to late adulthood. You should not sacrifice your time as well as anything you love or believe in to earn the approval of or to appease others. Whether disapproval comes because of your decision to listen to the music of your favorite band, try out a new haircut, or befriend someone quirky or different, don’t let people stifle you or prevent you from being yourself. Live your life to the fullest and don’t let anyone stop you!
- Don’t Allow Your Grades to Suffer in Exchange for Being a Social Butterfly.
Though it can be tempting, try very hard to avoid having too many extracurricular things going on at once. This is a tip I learned the hard way, and I still have a difficult time following it. Basically, if you have a million things happening simultaneously, it can be quite difficult to handle them all. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discouraging you from being ambitious. I am encouraging you to recognize your limits and to not kill yourself trying to be superhuman.
- Do Not Create Unnecessary Drama. Stay Out of Trouble. Avoid Conflict.
Please. Just. Don’t. Save yourself a lot of precious time and energy by not creating superficial problems. Don’t be a doormat, but don’t search for conflict and pursue confrontations. Also, please don’t intentionally be a source of drama for attention or entertainment and hurt people by gossiping or spreading rumors. In the end, it only hurts you and the person you are talking about.
- Keep All Your Tech Charged Up!
We all know how much of a nightmare it is to wake up to a dead phone or computer with no access to any missed emails, text messages, or phone calls. So, to avoid the irritation and peril not having this access-granting gear causes, make sure your items are always charging on nights before school. A lot of times, a notification pops up on the device to let you know it is charging. Make sure to check for this symbol or message. Also, if your device looks like it is charging but the notification does not come up, do be suspicious and investigate. Did your cord stop working? Is your device plugged in the whole way? Is your power strip turned on?
- Take Care of Yourself!
Make sure to drink plenty of water and maintain a nutritious diet. To stay healthy and avoid getting sick, you also need to sleep sufficiently. The majority of teens benefit most from having 8 to 10 hours of rest each night, while adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to thrive. School-age children require about 10 to 11 hours of sleep.
Source: “Are You Getting Enough Sleep?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements#1
- Textbook Tip
Don’t buy any textbook in advance unless you are genuinely interested in a subject and specifically want to have the corresponding book or know with certainty you will need it. Even if it says in your class syllabus the book is required, wait until you get a good feel for the course before making a purchase.
Note: If you decide against following this tip and the textbook you purchase is shrink-wrapped, do not break the seal. If you do, you will be unable to return the book for a full refund if you end up not needing it.
I know you are going to have a fantastic school year! Thanks for reading!
Keep it sassy,