1. Secure a day plannerMaybe you laugh at the thought of pulling out a day planner to record the dates of upcoming tests, college interviews, and club meetings. Maybe you have been fairing “alright” by mentally noting when you have commitments or jotting them down on random sticky notes. Admit it, though: you may secretly envy those who are determined and organized enough to keep a formal agenda! There are various benefits associated with owning a day planner, calendar, or another similar organizational device. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that you don’t have to worry about reminding yourself of important commitments. During the high school years, students have to juggle many responsibilities, so it can be easy to forget big or small events. Also, looking at the days laid out in a calendar view can help you get a feel for exactly how much time you have. Six days may seem like enough time to complete a research paper, but when you consider all else you must do in the days before the deadline, you may realize the issue is more pressing than you thought.
2. Be open to new friends and new experiencesA new school year or semester signifies a new beginning; this is your chance to turn over a new leaf! Maybe last year your grades suffered because you were too involved in sports, or maybe you wish you had been more involved in extracurricular activities. Sports teams are offering tryouts, new clubs are forming, and enrollment is open for upcoming classes. Whatever your interests may be, view the approaching semester as an opportunity to begin anything you missed out on the last time around. Being open to new things also involves meeting new people. Make friends with students you share similar interests with in your classes and extracurricular activities. By doing this, you will develop a support network you can depend on, which can be critical in high school. You can become study buddies with them and may even develop a long-term friendship. It also pays to be friendly with other individuals at your school, such as secretaries, teachers, or custodians. They will appreciate your kindness, and in exchange, will be happy to help you out when they can. Networking is a skill that will serve you well in college and beyond, so start making connections now!
3. Set reachable goalsIt is time to think about what you are hoping to get out of this school year. Are you looking to earn a certain score on the SAT, make the debate team, or boost your overall GPA? Setting concrete goals for yourself is a healthy way to ensure you are constantly growing and improving as a student. First and foremost, the goals you set for yourself should be attainable. For example, it might be unreasonable to expect your SAT score to jump by 200 points from May to June, especially if you are doing very little to prepare for it. Instead, aim for a realistic triumph: try to increase your score by 50-100 points through 30 minutes of SAT study per day. The important part of setting goals is how you deal with the outcome. If you reach your goals, celebrate those victories. Go out to dinner with your friends, take a weekend day trip, etc.—you earned it! On the other hand, if you do not reach your goals, you should hold yourself accountable. Think, “Why was I unable to accomplish this? How could I improve my approach for next time?” To ensure your next attempt is successful, you must modify your technique. The new semester is about to begin! There is no better moment to reflect on the last school year and think of how you can improve in the upcoming one. By following the above procedures, you will surely be on your way to a stellar semester.
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.