Starting a new school or college can be a daunting experience for anybody. Throw in the added complications of the seemingly unrelenting global pandemic and those feelings of fear and apprehension may well multiply to preposterous levels of intensity.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe me. I may well be 40 years old, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what you’re going through. Indeed, just last year when I returned to education after twenty years I felt the same feelings and carried the same worries that I did all those years ago.
So, with that in mind, here are eight top tips to help you tackle those first few weeks at your new place like a seasoned pro.
Face things head on
As easy as it might be to run away from a situation that isn’t to your liking – be it because you’re overthinking the outcome or worried about how others might perceive your approach – it takes a lot more guts to stick it out and face it head on. You’ll certainly feel pleased with yourself afterwards.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
We all mistakes. Yes, even that one person in your new class that appears to be perfect. So don’t be afraid to get involved in your lessons. Ask questions. Be inquisitive. Put forward your ideas and theories. Start discussions and debates amongst your peers and teachers. By doing so you’ll get a lot more value out of each lesson and ultimately you’ll learn more.
All that intense learning can really take it out of you. So to keep a clear head and help you to remain focused during your day, make sure you’re regularly quenching your thirst. Water is naturally best, but fruit juice and squash are just as good. Remember to avoid those sugary energy drinks too. They’ll do you no favours in the long run.
With a new school comes a whole bunch of new people. Of course, you’ll more than likely know a few people from your previous establishment, but it’s important to get to know new people too. So don’t be afraid to go and chat to people that you’ve never met before. Naturally you’re not going to become best friends with everybody but you might just meet a few people that you share a common interest with.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
It may be a cliché but when it comes to your education it’s one that’s worth remembering. You might think now that learning to speak French is a waste of your time. After all, you’re going to train to be a plumber when you leave school and the chances of you needing to ask “which direction the butchers shop is in” is hardly something you’re going to need to know, is it? But believe me, life really isn’t that simple. You don’t know what direction your life is going to go in the years to come so it’s important to get as broad an education as possible while you can. Learn the sciences. Learn different languages. Learn about the world we live in. It’s all important and it all matters.
Take time out
As much as it is important to concentrate on your education, it is also important to take time out for yourself as well. By all means get your homework assignments done as soon as possible, but remember to spend some time doing those things you enjoy as well. Hang out with your friends, catch a movie or simply spend a couple of hours in front of your favourite video game. Whatever you enjoy doing, make sure you take the time to do it alongside your studies.
Look after your mental health
The pressures of starting a new school can be tough, and all that stress and anxiety can be detrimental to your mental health. So it’s important to keep it in check on a regular basis. Why not try keeping a blog or a journal? I find that writing my thoughts and worries down is a great way of getting them out of your mind and dissecting them accordingly. Meditation as well comes highly recommended as a way of relaxing the mind and calming the soul. There are plenty of free apps out there too that will allow you to get started such as Insight Timer or Headspace.
Don’t suffer in silence
Whether you’re struggling to understand algebra, (Trust me, you won’t be the only one) or you’re having difficulty deciphering your chemical formulas – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your teachers are there to teach you, so take advantage of their knowledge and expertise as much as you need to. Remember, they want to see you succeed as much as you want to succeed yourself.