by SOPHIA DUGAN '21
The back-to-school season is always busy, and it can be difficult to navigate the harder classes, busy sports schedules, and loads of homework that accompany a new school year. Have no fear! This list of tips will help you to successfully maneuver these first few months.
1. Get enough sleep. For high schoolers, eight to ten hours is what most professionals recommend. “Not only does getting adequate sleep prepare you for a full day of school,” says health teacher Mrs. Williams, “but it can also help to fight off any sickness. A lot of girls get sick in the first few weeks of school, and getting those eight to ten hours really helps your immune system.” Obviously this can be difficult to achieve because of our busy schedules, but Mrs. Williams suggests that students “be reasonable about how long their assignments will take them and set a goal to be finished with them by a certain time each night” in order to get to bed as early as possible.
2. Stay active. Playing a sport not only introduces you to people who share a similar interest, but can also help to keep you well-rested. This may seem counterintuitive, as long afterschool practices are often physically draining, but “numerous studies have shown that the more tired you are, the better you sleep at night,” Mrs. Williams says.
3. Eat well. Back-to-school illnesses are common, one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system is to eat well. “Immune supplements are helpful,” says Mrs. Williams, “but some do contain a lot of sugar, and they won’t keep you from getting sick by themselves; the first step is to make sure that you’re eating foods with plenty of nutrients and drinking enough water.” Mrs. Williams also warns us to stay away from energy drinks, such as Bang and Redbull. “Overloading on caffeine isn’t going to make up for a lack of sleep in the long run,” she points out. However, Mrs. Williams acknowledges that late nights of homework that leave us feeling groggy in the morning are sometimes unavoidable. “If you’re feeling really tired, always opt for coffee, as it’s a more natural way of consuming caffeine.”
4. Get involved. Making friends can be a daunting task, especially as a freshman. However, playing a sport, trying out for the musical, or joining clubs are great ways to find people who share your interests.
5. … but not too involved. We all tend to be a little overambitious when signing up for clubs, volunteering, and trying out for sports teams, but be wary of being involved in twenty different things at once. Not only are you being unfair to the leaders of these organizations, who are dependent on your time and energy, but you’re also hurting yourself by simply trying to do too much. Find a few activities you’re truly passionate about, and steer clear of the ones that seem like chores, especially if your only motive for involvement is to beef up a college application or resume.
6. Set aside time for yourself. Self care is, and I cannot stress this enough, SO IMPORTANT! Whether it’s staying in on a Friday night to watch Netflix in your bed, pampering yourself with a face mask before you go to bed, or watching one episode of Jane the Virgin during a study break, be sure to relax now and then; trust me, you deserve it!
7. Use class time wisely. It’s extremely tempting to do all 45 minutes of your weekly Membean when teachers give you in-class work time, but instead, use that time to take care of your higher priority assignments. It’s a lot easier to focus on Membean at 11:00 at night than it is to write a research essay.
8. Don’t let a bad grade ruin your attitude. As clichéd as this advice sounds, it’s true. Adjusting to a new class load can mean a less-than-desirable quiz grade here and there; it really does happen to the best of us! Rather than beat yourself up over it, though, channel your energy into making up those points through completion grades, tweaking your study habits, and reminding yourself that you’re not the only one having trouble.
9. Put down your phone. Many of us are guilty of doing our homework with our phones by our sides, but be wary of this, as a quick glance at your Instagram feed during a study break can turn into an hour-long binge. Mrs Williams agrees: “It’s a good idea to turn your phone off while you’re studying, or even to put it in a completely different room. Studies show that even looking at your phone, even if it’s not on, can distract you, so doing your work in a phone-free space is really important.”
10. Have fun! Dress up for spirit week, go to musicals, and cheer loudly at games. Take advantage of all of the activities and events Saint Ursula has to offer you! As important as your schoolwork is, you’re only in high school once, so be sure to take some time to bond with your classmates and support your Dawgs!!!