How to mentally prepare yourself for the new school year

By Bridie McArthur

I get it – the last thing you want to be thinking about during the summer holidays is what comes after. The allure of living within that blissful holiday bubble, untouched by academic stress and assignment deadlines and school uniforms and early wake-ups. Maybe you’re like me: your annual preparation for going back to school consists of bingeing back-to-school videos on YouTube, looking for unused planners that will most certainly find itself wedged in a drawer, never to be used. That’s a great start, but preparing yourself for a new school year – especially mentally – takes a bit more than a planner with a cute cover design, though ‘studytube’ YouTube videos and Officeworks can help. Here is a list of ways to mentally prepare for the upcoming school year.

Reflect on the year before.

It’s introspection time! Take a few minutes with a blank Word doc or a piece of paper or even just your mind, and reflect: figure out where you succeeded last year, identify some mistakes you made, the things (classes, extracurriculars, etc) you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. Did you overextend yourself? Do you feel you could do more with your time? What distracted you? Did you achieve any of your goals?

Set goals, and work out how you can achieve them.

Let’s detach from the idea of new year’s resolutions here because those always seem impossible to keep. Reframe goals as intentions, and make them achievable. An effective way to help you achieve any goalsis to set out how to. For example, if you were aiming to learn a language, you would list steps that would make that happen – maybe enrolling in a language class or downloading an app, which would keep you accountable, and then establishing ‘mini’ goals that would lead you to achieve the overarching goal: focusing on verbs, then writing a letter in your target language, etc. This will leave you focused on growth and motivated for the new year.

Fix your sleep schedule!

Ruining your sleep schedule is a hallmark of summer holidays, but having a bad sleep schedule plus entering a new school year will lead to plummeting energy levels, and burnout. However undesirable, taking a week or two before the new school year to gradually go to bed and wake up earlier will have you thanking yourself come exam week.

Again, this list is non-exhaustive and mainly a jumping-off point. The aim is to avoid burn-out, and start the new school year on a refreshed, motivated, and readied foot. Maybe this is the year you’ll finally commit to that yearly planner?

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