Let’s be real here. School? A huge part of our lives but also one of the most complicated… unless you’re homeschooled. Lucky. (How does it feel to live my dream?) Anyways, school where you’re near people other than your family can be honestly terrifying. I understand you so well if you think like that. First day back to school any year? Anxiety inducing. You have to figure out where your classes are, what your classes are, and who seems nice enough to approach and hopefully be friends. That last part is usually the hardest, especially if you’re shy and hate talking to new people. So what should you do? How should you do it? If you feel the anxiety just thinking about it, then this will hopefully be the perfect post for you.
Let’s start with the easy part first - the classes. How should you handle your own personal life and be successful in school at the same time? Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, I’m personally going to agree with you, but let me give you some tips that I’ve found and worked for me.
Organization - This part is so important. Really find ways where you can keep track of where everything is, whether that’s cleaning your room once a week (I know, no one likes it but it’ll be beneficial), or making to do lists. It will actually help create a positive mood, reduce stress, and make you feel relaxed when you come home after a long day of school. Even better, it’ll increase your mental health, which will help so much to survive school.
Schedules - Have a copy of your schedule with you on the first few days of school, so you won’t ever get lost (hopefully) or at least are able to find your way to classes. Make sure to take a picture of the schedule on your phone. It’s easy to feel prepared and ready the night before, but then forget everything as soon as you arrive. So, make sure you always have a copy of your schedule somewhere with you.
Taking Care of Mental Health - Speaking of mental health, try to maintain it Devoting yourself to studying is great, but it’s also important to take a break and just relax. Studies show that increased mental health increases school performance. Being mindful, like through meditation, can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Procrastination - It’s so easy to fall for the pull of procrastinating. It’s always there, beckoning you to join the dark side. Well, don’t. Don’t do it. You’re going to regret it so much. Based on personal experience, it’s so easy to join the procrastination, but so difficult to leave. Breaks are really important, but make sure not to use them as an excuse to put off work that should be done right now. Plan ahead and break up huge projects to do periodically, so the huge deadline looming anxiety can be avoided.
Communicate - Definitely communicate with your teachers and friends/family if you ever need help managing your busy schedule. Though it might seem awkward to ask for help, you’ll benefit greatly from it. Don’t try to do everything on your own. If you have questions on tricky assignments, ask your classmates or teachers.
Find Hobbies/Activities - Join clubs or after school activities, as school does take up a lot of time, but you’ll also need leisure time devoted to things you’re interested in. Spend some time figuring out what you’re interested in, then join activities related to that. If you like new cultures, try to find some clubs where you learn about new cultures. If you like sports, join a sports team. Whatever your interests lie in, make sure to pursue them. Recent research suggests that participation in extracurricular activities may increase students' sense of engagement or attachment to their school (Lamborn et al, 1992; Finn, 1993).
And now… drum roll please. The part that no one wants to talk about. People. Or maybe you’re extremely extroverted and love them. Well, feel free to skip this part. This section is for my introverted people. Is it hard to find people that understand you, or is it simply because you’re scared? People who you’ll love to be around are always out there. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be the first part to actually find someone. This is easier said than done, but if you do so, you’ll meet amazing new people who’ll be by your side no matter what. Here’s some tips for doing that.
Similar Interests - Find the people who have similar interests as you (Goes along with the tip for finding what you’re interested in. A great place to find people will be in those activities/clubs). I know, this sounds cliche, but it is honestly better to have those you actually can be yourself around than those where you have to hide. It’s so much easier to get along with them and be friends. The process where you become friends will be much smoother if you actually have something to talk to them about.
Someone In Your Shoes - Find people who are alone too, too scared to talk to anyone. Make the first move, and you might just meet your best friend forever. Or just a normal friend. But still a friend.
Avoid Shutting Yourself Out - Even if you’re feeling tired, lazy, insecure, or any other negative emotions that make you not want to do something, be sure to avoid declining hangouts or any chances from people asking to hang out or be your friend. Put yourself out there, and take those invitations to different events and after school socials. Make yourself be noticed even if it requires a little extra effort and risk. After all, what’s a little risk if you gain a big reward?
Introduce Yourself to New People - When you’re around people you don’t know, it can be very tempting to just sit there quietly, especially if you’re shy and afraid to talk first (personal experience). However, even an introduction can break the ice and keep the conversation flowing. Smile at the person and give off friendly vibes, which will suggest you would like to be friends. Then, talk about literally anything, as even the weirdest conversations will gain you a new friend.
So, here you are, at the end. I hope these tips were helpful to you in your school journeys, and that if you ever need any help, you’ll communicate with someone and ask for help. Remember, communication is key.
Angelina Lin, Bentonville, 11th Grade, @xo.angel.ina
Mental Health Benefits of Staying Organized https://www.workplaceoptions.com/mental-health-benefits-of-staying-organized
How to Maintain Work-Life-School Balance
Extracurricular Participation and Student Engagement
How To Step Out Of Your Shyness and Make New Friends at School