At the beginning of a new school year, it seems as though everybody craves a fresh start – a chance to improve from the previous school year. Whether that be through aspiring for better grades, making new friends, or having more school spirit, there’s no doubt we all have at least one thing we want to change from last year.
Though as the year goes on, many students often find themselves becoming disorganized and straying further away from their goals. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to implement strategies of staying organized throughout the school year and finding ways to stick to routine that can hopefully help you fulfill your “school year resolutions.”
1) Most importantly, keep a planner. Having a planner is the best way to know what and when things are due. Make it a habit to write down the homework for each class after it’s announced, that way you won’t forget anything. In addition to that, use the planner’s monthly calendar page to write down when future assignments are due, or when tests or quizzes are coming up. Looking at the planner throughout the day and when you get home helps you get a clear overview of everything you can expect for the next week or so.
2) Keep tidy! With constant waves of worksheets and other papers working their way to us every day, it’s a given that folders and notebooks will be pretty full. Something that can help to control the clutter is to go through your folders, or wherever you throw your loose papers, at the end of every school week. Get rid of anything you know you don’t need now (and won’t need in the future), leave graded assignments at home, and hold onto things you know you still need for now. Having this system truly helps to minimize clutter and leaves your backpack looking neat and organized!
3) Prioritize. Often times, it’s easy to become bombarded with due dates and entangled in assignments from multiple classes. An easy way to make sure you have enough time to do everything is to either make a mental or physical list of what you need to do first. Go through class by class and decide what is most important, basing your decision off of when it’s due and how long it will take you to complete. Work on things that are due tomorrow first, and then once those are finished, begin to work on things that are due maybe a few days from now.
4) Take plenty of notes. Always have a clean sheet of paper in a notebook or binder to take notes, and make sure your handwriting is legible. Highlight, underline, or circle important terms, phrases, or ideas that you need to enforce. These marks can save you time when looking for certain things within the notes, as well. In addition, never limit your notes to solely what is on the board. If the teacher further explains an idea that is on the board, take notes on what he or she just said. Look and listen when taking notes to ensure they’re proper studying material.
5) Create a study environment built for you. Whether you’re just doing homework or hardcore studying, it’s important to feel comfortable and focused. Find a place where you feel like you do schoolwork best – your room, the dining room table, the library, or even Starbucks. How well you perform is heavily influenced by your environment, so make sure wherever you pick to do schoolwork for the day won’t be distracting in any way. If it helps you, listening to music or having something on as background noise may improve your concentration as well.
6) Pack ahead of time. The night before school, know what you have to bring for the next day. Put everything you’ll need in your backpack so that way it’s ready to grab and go in the morning. You can also pack your lunch the night before, or even have an outfit laid out so you don’t have to waste time scouring through your closet or trying on different clothes. You’ll be gifted the sweet reward of having a few minutes to spare in the morning.
7) Have time limits on your routines. You can either set alarms on your phone or just mental times on when you want to be done with certain aspects of your morning routine to make sure you don’t miss the bus or feel rushed. Know what time your bus comes or what time you want to arrive at school and base your routine around that. Allot specific end times for eating breakfast, showering, getting dressed, doing your hair and/or makeup, packing lunch, etc.. If you set mental checkpoints for yourself, then there’s a pretty good chance you won’t be late.
8) Take time to relax. We all know high school is stressful, especially when extracurricular activities, sports, and family time are thrown into the mix. Despite this, it’s super important to allow yourself time to unwind from the stressors of the day. It may seem hard or like you don’t have enough time, but you should find a way to make time for yourself. Take an hour or so at the end of the day – or even an additional hour in the middle of the day if you feel very stressed – to watch TV, read a book, play a game, or even just take a nap. Good self-care is crucial to mental and physical health, especially for a high school student!