Back-to-School Tips from an Incoming Senior!

By: Ava Tiffany

Hi everyone! My name is Ava Tiffany, and I am from Dallas, TX. I will be a senior in high school this upcoming year. With the start of the new school year approaching so soon, I thought it would be fitting for my blog post to be some tips for Back-to-School that I have found to immensely help me get the most out of my high school experience while loving every minute of it. Regardless of whether you are a big nerd who adores school (I am in this category), or if it’s not as much of your thing, there are simple things that YOU can do at the start of the school year and throughout to ensure that you have the best year possible! Everyone talks about how fast high school goes, and I never believed them until experiencing it myself. It truly does FLY by… but it can be some of the best years of your life with the right mindset and some helpful tips. Without further ado, here are my six favorite BTS tips on how to make the 2021-2022 school year our best one yet!

Back to School Tips

Tip #1: ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE.

Whether you have a block schedule or a set schedule, the volume of classes and work in high school is a lot for everyone. The more organized you can be, the better, and this will ensure that you can access classwork, homework, study guides, and more as quickly as possible! Something I love that brings me joy is going to Office Depot or CVS at the start of a new school year! I bring each teacher’s syllabus and get the required/suggested supplies (in beautiful colors, of course) to make sure I am prepared for each individual class. I always make sure to color code, label, and section all my supplies, and just starting this way gives me a foolproof system of organization to continue with during the whole year. About once a week, I will clean out papers I don’t need anymore to keep my folders and binders from overflowing with old materials. This is especially helpful in keeping many tasks and classwork assignments in front of my supplies and easily accessible to me in class!

Tip #2: PLAN YOUR TIME.

With a busy school day, after-school activities, and homework, each school day can seem more active than the last. Something I have found absolutely essential and life-changing for me is making sure to plan my time each day! I have used paper agendas, apple notes, and mobile app calendars, and all work wonderfully. I used to use paper, but I found it easier to have my homework in a notes page on my phone with so much of my school online this year! My advice is to find what works for YOU and stick with it. It may seem tedious and time-consuming at times, but I promise it is a GAME CHANGER in the long run! Even if it is just quickly jotting down your homework for the night on a notes page or an agenda, having a “to-do list” of sorts to go through as you complete assignments helps ensure that you do not forget anything to stay on top of all your responsibilities. I have also found that scheduling my time to complete assignments, attend my activities, and just rest and relax has made me more efficient, get everything done so much easier, and has made me appreciate all the moments in my day more! I am not stressed about forgetting something, and because I make sure I plan time for all the important parts of my day, I ensure I will have time for everything I love every day.

Tip #3: CONNECT & CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIPS.

This tip is one of my favorites, and it is really underrated, in my opinion. One of my most favorite parts of school is getting to meet new people. Each class is unique, and it is such a valuable time to connect with others and cultivate relationships with people you wouldn’t have had an opportunity to otherwise. Regardless of whether you play the same sport or have the same interests, having a wide variety of friends and relationships is pivotal in expanding your perspective and helping you see the world from other people’s points of view. Some of my most unexpected but most cherished friendships have begun with a class together. I encourage you all to get out of your comfort zone and start reaching out to new people in class when the teacher isn’t talking, of course :). Virtual learning, masking, and rarely seeing anyone’s smile affected us all. Whether you share a smile, give a compliment, or start a conversation, any effort is energy and time well spent, and I guarantee it will pay off. I also highly recommend getting to know your amazing teachers and counselors. These amazing individuals dedicate their careers to us, students because they are passionate about our education and helping us flourish. They are so wise and knowledgeable, and overall fantastic resources. Seek out relationships with them and remember to check in on them; they are people too! My school counselor has helped me so much throughout high school. She is so amazing, from helping me pick my courses from being a trusted counsel to lean on when having a rough day, and I am so grateful for all her help. Make sure to take the time to get to know your counselors. They’re amazing resources to have to help make high school easier to navigate!

Tip #4: FIND A COMMUNITY.

One of the best parts about high school is the different activities and ways to get involved. Whether you play a sport or instrument, sing, dance, act, do art, or any other awesome activity, there is a community for everyone. These are ways to get to know people with similar interests, many times between grade levels. Meeting upperclassmen provides a mentor of sorts, and these relationships can be so helpful when seeking advice, whether school-related or personal. These people have been in your exact shoes so recently, and they are amazing to lean on. School-sponsored activities and organizations are amazing, but some of my most treasured experiences from high school have been through school clubs! My school has an annual club fair where students can learn about all the clubs available and sign up for those that interest them. One club I signed up for that changed my life was my school’s Herren Project Club! I loved it so much and was so involved that I actually applied for President and will have been in that role for both last year and this upcoming year. Herren Club has given me a community of friends with strong characters who desire to be leaders and make a difference! If your school doesn’t have a Herren Project Club, I encourage you to start one! Being involved in such a fantastic community has taught me more lessons and encouraged me in more ways than I ever imagined possible.

TIP #5: RELAX & REJUVENATE.

I know as well as anyone, school and all the responsibilities associated with it can be very stressful. While it is important to be responsible and accountable for our work, always remember that no one expects you to be perfect. Make sure that you are taking time to relax and rejuvenate in ways that will calm you and ground you. Maybe it’s reading a book, listening to music, taking a bath, watching your favorite show, or hanging out with family and friends, but whatever it is… MAKE TIME FOR IT!!! Your mental health and mental state are of the UTMOST importance. If you do not take time to pour into yourself, fill your heart, and calm your mind, how can you expect to pour out into the world? Make time for the activities that relax and rejuvenate you, and always remember that perfection is unattainable. You are so valued exactly how you are, and prioritizing your mental health and wellbeing, especially when most stressed, is the best decision you can ever make.

TIP #6: REPLENISH!

This last tip goes along with tip #5, but it is all about replenishing. Busy days can tend to drain us, and it is essential that we replenish ourselves to go into the next day with even more energy and drive! One of the MOST important things that help us replenish is our SLEEP! Did you know the average teenager needs 8-10 hours of sleep a night?? I sure didn’t until recently. I wonder how many of us actually get that on a consistent basis… I know I sure don’t. Something I also learned recently is that you can’t “make up” for lost sleep. If you sleep four hours one night and ten the next, it doesn’t average out to seven a night. Your body doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.

Getting consistent, quality sleep is SO SO important. Set a goal of when you want to be in bed every night when you want to go to sleep, and when you plan to wake up. Sleep is where our body restores, our memory consolidates, and our minds rest! The biggest tip I can give you to make sure each day of this school year is the best yet is GET. MORE. SLEEP! Along with sleep, two other things to mention are water and food. Hydrating and properly fueling our bodies with nutritious food gives us enough of the right energy to take on each day and make it the best one yet!

So, those are my tips! I hope you found this blog and these tips helpful! Always remember that your body is an integrated system! Your physical health, mental health, and emotional health all work together to create YOU, and they all affect your performance and energy every single day. Make sure to take care of yourself and all aspects of yourself this school year. Good luck to all the students out there. I have a great feeling this will be the best year yet!

Remember to BE YOU!!
XO, AVA <3