Written By Olga, Tutor Of Greatness for Enhanced Prep
While everyone is welcoming a new year and decade, students are returning for the second half of their school year. Just as adulting is hard after the holidays, returning to school is also challenging after winter break. Instead of napping and binge-watching Netflix, students need to regather their focus and energy for classes, homework, testing, and extracurriculars.
This can be a fraught transition, to say the least, especially if winter break also brings extra homework assignments! We have some fantastic tips for a smoother transition this January. If followed with consistency, these tips can benefit your academic performance and health well into June and hopefully for many years to come.
Moving forward towards progress in 2020 means letting go of what is holding us back. For students, this especially means replacing harmful thought patterns with those of encouragement. Instead of comparing test scores within a friend group or between classmates, ask yourself what you could do differently next time, or approach your teachers for opportunities to improve. Although it is natural to feel competitive in school, comparing a current self to a past self (rather than peers) is a far more productive way to grow.
Even when focusing on themselves, students may have a very negative self-perception and a fixed mindset. After procrastinating on an essay, for example, it’s easy to think: “I’m so bad at this. How could I let this happen again? I’m never going to get to anything on time.” These self-defeating thoughts make temporary issues seem permanent while underscoring limitations. Since thoughts become actions, the words “I am bad at…” should most certainly be left behind in 2019. Instead, reformulate those thoughts along the following lines: “I need to work on getting started earlier next time. I can’t go back in time, so what can I do now to resolve this?”
Be kinder in your thoughts while also following through with actions! When the next assignment due date is known, assign mini deadlines for chunks of the project and practice time management skills. This reduces the anxiety that fuels procrastination.
It’s also important to make room for positivity in both mental and physical ways. When it’s a struggle to get started on homework, declutter your workspace, put your phone far away, and breathe. It may be tempting and comforting to use the TV for background noise, but Noisli.com can be a more productive alternative. This free app and online site plays specific noises like the pattering of rain to help boost focus or release tension, which can be especially helpful during finals.
The school year may be in full swing, but it’s never too late to get a fresh start! Happy 2020!