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(Stock image)

(Stock image)

By Maddie Studnicka, Hinsdale Central

It’s that time again to begin the frustrating uphill battle of smoothly transitioning into the new school year’s routines. Before everyone gets sucked into the vortexes of sports practices, club meetings, studying for tests, working on presentations, writing papers or all above, these are a few goals to set for yourself to really get back in the game.

  1. Start with a Clean Slate

Everyone is either that friend or has a friend who can hold a grudge for what seems like an eternity and, in the long run, it’s not worth it to stay mad at one of your friends forever. At the beginning of the new school year, try to to let go of the resentment and start fresh. You’re more likely to remember all the memories you make in high school with your best friends than the reason you were fighting.

  1. Focus on Getting Enough Sleep

Teenagers are notorious for not getting enough sleep. Morning after morning, students will trudge into their classrooms, their coffees in hand, while running on only a few hours of sleep. The average teen gets seven hours of sleep when they need at least nine hours to properly function. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect cognitive function, mood, and academic ability. As much as you think that extra hour of studying will help you for that chemistry test when you’re awake at 1 a.m., sleep is the better option. Aim for eight hours to keep your mind focused and your body rested.

  1. Get Organized

Whether you’re into color coded folders and notebooks or scheduling your night minute by minute, being organized is a must. Although you may be flustered by all the new information you’re learning about your classes and your new classmates, find a way to get organized right away. Try to work ahead on homework so that you never have to worry about falling behind. Having a calendar where you can mark all club meetings, test dates, project due dates or sports events can be helpful to visualize what you need to focus on to stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Turn off your Phone! (Seriously, do it!)

As important as that Snapchat or as interesting as your Instagram feed may be, if you’re going to stop procrastinating, you need to turn the phone off or on do not disturb and immerse yourself in the homework or studying. What started out as harmlessly scrolling through Facebook can lead to nearly an hour wasted on Youtube videos. By turning off your phone and getting to work, you might even be able to get to sleep before 11 p.m. Sure, it’s going to take some serious discipline and self control at first, but eventually it will get easier and pay off.

  1. Get Involved in a Sport or Start an Exercise Regimen

Now that school is back in session, students are once again trapped at their desks from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with occasional movement in passing periods and low impact activity in gym class. If you’re not participating in a sport inside or outside of school, work on getting yourself into an exercise regimen in whatever form you enjoy: biking, swimming, running, walking, yoga, boxing or something else. Between access to Youtube workout videos and the great outdoors, there is a way for everyone to create a workout plan that they will enjoy. Regular exercise will help to keep your heart healthy, improve your mood, keep your bones strong, boost your blood flow and reduce stress.

  1. Approach New Classes with an Open Mind

You may have heard that Physics is the worst class you’ll ever take, or that your AP Language and Composition teacher is the hardest out of all the English teachers, or that the tests in World History are impossible or the projects in Spanish Studies are so time consuming. If you go into these classes with preconceived fears or doubts, you’re just asking to start off the year negatively. If you approach new classes with an open mind, you may find that you will enjoy the class much more than you expected to.

  1. Go to a School Function or Sports Game you Haven’t Been to Before

Even though many students think homecoming is pointless or all football and basketball games aren’t fun, these are some of the opportunities that you will have as a high schooler to get involved in school spirit or to get dressed up and just let loose for the night. Find an event at your school that you may not normally choose to go to, and get a group of friends to tag along and cheer on the team or get crazy on the dance floor.

  1. Talk to Someone New Every Day

No matter what year you are, meeting new people is an important skill that will be used throughout your life, especially as college creeps closer. After a year of being in the same classes with the same people, you get comfortable in those established friendships, but it’s always nice to brush up on your “people skills.” By learning someone’s name and asking them how their day is going, you could make their day, make them smile or make a new friend.

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