1. Set your routine
Get into the habit now of going to bed early and rising early. Start making your lunches for the week in advance and set your favorite route to school. The more that you take care of beforehand, the less last-minute panic you will have to add to the beginning of the year.
2. Get a head start on your work
The more you get done in the first week or two of school, the less you will have to do later. Generally there is not much going on at the beginning of school so this is a good time to get ahead. Later in the fall when there are football games and dances to attend you will be able to go without having to worry about schoolwork. It’s worth spending some time away from your friends for that first weekend so you can be free later for more fun stuff.
3. Realize that this is temporary
It won't be like this all year. Schedules will settle, teachers and parents will settle, and your fellow students will settle. Most importantly, you will also get used to your new environment little by little.
4. Look at the big picture
Think about your goals and before you do anything, ask yourself this question: “Will doing this help me achieve my goals?” Will eating this brownie help me perform better in my sport? no! Will completing my homework tonight help me achieve my long term goal of being a lawyer? yes!
4. Do some good
It’s been proven that doing something nice for someone else can make you feel good. This is one of the best methods to use when you’re feeling down or stressed. I know this can be the last thing on your mind when you are running around feeling lost, but remember your classmates are feeling just as lost as you. Take a minute to guide a fellow student to class, explain their schedule, or just welcome them to school and make a new friend. It will make you feel better.
5. Don't take it personally
Realize that everyone else around you is also stressed. Students, teachers, parents. They are probably not going to be their friendliest self this week but that doesn't mean it’s because of you, or that this will be how they act all year. We're all feeling the pressures of a new year.
6. Take care of yourself
Keep those good habits that you cultured over the summer. Eat healthy, exercise, and schedule time to connect with friends and family. Stress management techniques are extra important this week, such as deep breathing and positive thinking. When time is short we tend to skip the things that help us feel our best, but right now it's most important to do these things. Choose to eat a piece of fruit instead of that donut. The fruit will be helpful for you to fight stress, the donut will just make things worse.
I hope these tips help you start your year with great success!
Scott Bitterman - Physical Education Teacher. Bronx, NYC