It is almost unbelievable that for over 100,000 students in Pinellas County, tomorrow is the last day of summer. A long-awaited and supposedly uneventful summer seems to have passed in the blink of an eye, and now children ranging from ages five to eighteen are packing their backpacks and finishing up last minute assignments. For me, like many of you, this school year is still very much up in the air. I’m not sure if we will be wearing masks, or how many of my peers have been vaccinated, or even if we will be able to complete a full-term school year uninterrupted. What I am sure of though, is that plenty students have been out of a “normal” classroom setting for over a year now, and many are probably confused and worried about stepping back into one.
I too, am a little anxious about going back to school. This summer was filled with unexpected trips and work and full days. I didn’t even have the time to consider how to prepare for going back to school But, after ruminating on it for a little while, I have finally found that sliver of excitement within myself and capitalized on it. Now I am actually excited to wake up on Wednesday morning, to go see people I haven’t seen in months, to meet my new teachers, and to just start fresh. So, in case you are feeling out of touch or lost when it comes to going back to school, I wanted to leave you with a practical set of tips on how to make the most out of this school year, particularly in terms of productivity.
Organization and productivity are both skills that people spend their entire educational career trying to master. Those who are able to balance school, volunteering, extra- curriculars, and a lively social life are often looked at with awe. Honestly, the truth is, that being productive is all about time management and pragmatism. If you want to accomplish your goals and get things done, you have to be honest with yourself about what is important to you and how you can effectively manipulate the hours in your day to fit all these things in.
The first step is a mindset change– you have to make school a priority. Like I said, if something is important enough to you, you will make time for it. For me, it is important to avoid stress. I hate the feeling of being up late at night working on an assignment that is due the next morning. This kind of time-crunch makes my heart beat fast and brings me to tears, which I would rather not experience. This is why I always get my work done in advance. At the end of the day, you are going to have to do the assignment at some point, so you may as well do it the day it is assigned instead of waiting to do it the night before it’s due. It may help to create a schedule for yourself in a planner or online so that you can see what you want to accomplish each day.
Another tip to help keep your productivity up is to make yourself busy. Obviously, it is not a good idea to overbook yourself and end up burning out, but, forming a schedule that keeps you occupied will actually leave less room for procrastination. What I mean by this is, if you know that you have a club meeting after school at 3pm and then you have to go to sports practice at 6pm, you will be forced to get your homework done between the two times. Finding a way to force yourself to sit down for a couple of hours and do work is important, and you will reap the benefits afterwards.
Last but not least, crucial to a more productive school year, is the environment that you are in. One of the best things you can do to meet your goals, is to surround yourself with the kind of individuals that you admire. You’re more likely to stay focused on the right things if you spend time with someone you know has a good work ethic and values that align with yours. Trust me, it is incredibly motivating to see someone who works tirelessly and then finds success from it. Look for those kinds of people, and make sure you recognize who the “wrong crowd” are to avoid falling in with them.
This is your year. It is your time to get your life in order and improve your grades and make friends who will help you along the way. Remember, school is important and it is essential to put your full effort into it. Still though, it isn’t everything and everyone has place for improvement. No matter who other challenges may arise, as long as you continue working towards productivity, this school year will be one filled with success and free of tension.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most” -Abraham Lincoln