Back to school mania

Updated : 2014-03-14 By : Daniel McCoolSource : JIN Magazine

Back to school mania

The first day back is the time when you need to gather all your paperwork and materials. Packing your bag the night before school day is a great way to ensure your morning is not a train wreck

There's no doubt that the first day back to school can be crazy.

The first day back is the time when you need to gather all your paperwork and materials. Packing your bag the night before school day is a great way to ensure your morning is not a train wreck.

Are you one of those fussy dressers who tries on their whole wardrobe before finally ending up wearing the first thing you tried on? What is important is that you wear something that makes you feel comfortable, be it a brand-new pair of shoes or a well-worn old pair of run-arounds. If you do plan to wear new shoes, however, be sure to break them in a few days before going back to school to prevent your feet howling at you long before school breaks.


Lots of people feel anxious, scared, or excited about school.

Don't feel bad if you feel nervous about going back to school – everyone feels nervous or shy at some point. Be honest with yourself: after a long break, getting used to the workload and routine of school takes some getting used to. If you do feel a mental breakdown coming on, however, just think back to some other ‘first days': everything probably settled down after a few days.

It is important to meet new people and get reacquainted with old friends. The key is to start small: If large groups make you nervous, try saying hello to one or two new people a day. The best place to start is with the person who ends up being your new desk mate. Or, try asking some new people to sit with you in the cafeteria.

Ever after a few days, if you still feel uncomfortable, try talking with the school counselor, a favorite teacher, or someone else you trust with your feelings. The most important consideration is time: adjustment problems are only temporary.

Making Your Way Through the Lunchroom

After gym, everyone's favorite period is – almost undoubtedly – lunch. But with foods like rice, noodles, or porridge staring you in the face when you're at your most hungry, it can be hard to make healthy choices.

Here are some tricks to choosing foods that will keep you focused and active throughout the day — as well as help you grow and develop throughout the school year:

Get a copy of the menu. Knowing what's on the menu puts you in control: You can pick and choose which days you want to buy lunch and when you want to bring your own.

Head for the salad bar. If your school offers a salad bar, take advantage. If you'd rather pack, consider adding carrot sticks, a piece of fresh fruit, or pretzels to your lunch bag.

Think energy. Some foods are better choices than others for maintaining energy during the day. Choose low-fat proteins, like chicken, beans, or low-fat yogurt and add lots of fruits and veggies to your meal. They'll provide the vitamins and minerals you need and the energy to get through the day. Foods that have a lot of simple carbohydrates, like sugary snacks, donuts, or french fries may give you a quick rush of energy but it's not sustainable.

Stop for a snack. You can't concentrate or absorb new knowledge without a well-fed mind and body. So take along a healthy snack, like carrot sticks or trail mix, to stave off hunger between classes (don't munch during class, though, or you may face a reprimand!).

Having a Brain Drain?

School seemed simple when you were younger. Everyone told you where to go, what classes to take, and how to finish your homework. Now things are different; there are so many choices and priorities competing for your time.

Here are some things you can do to help regain control:

Plan ahead. Get a wall calendar or personal planner. Mark the dates of midterms, finals, and other tests. Note the due dates of term papers, essays, and other projects as they are assigned. List any other time commitments you have, like basketball practice or play rehearsals.

Stay ahead. Try not to fall behind. If you feel yourself falling behind and starting to feel frustrated, let your teachers know. It's better to get help early on than to wait and think you can ace the final if you spend a few nights cramming. Almost everyone struggles with a particular subject or class. If you're having trouble with a particular subject or homework project, ask your teacher for extra help after class.

Listen up. Paying attention in class can actually pay off in the long run. Sure, it's often easier said than done, but actively listening and taking notes during lectures can make recalling information easier when it comes time to study and remember things.

Take notes. If you take notes and review them before class begins (or while studying for an exam), you can ask a teacher to go over anything you don't understand. Learning good note-taking skills in high school also helps put you ahead of the curve in college, when good lecture notes are key to studying and doing well.

Ahh-choo! What to Do?

Nearly everyone gets sick at one time or another. If you're out sick, ask friends to take notes and pick up your homework.

If you're out for more than a day or two, do a little work every day if you feel up to it to keep from falling behind. Some teachers post assignments and notes on the Internet — find out if they will accept faxed or emailed homework. If not, have your mom or dad drop your assignments off at school. Then be prepared to make up lab time and tests when you return.

If you're not feeling well enough to keep up with your classes, that's OK. It's more important that you take care of yourself. Again, establishing a good relationship with teachers helps them be more understanding and they'll be able to help you catch up when you make it back to school.

Survival Tips

Here are some more things that can help put you ahead in school:

The old saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is never more true than when you're going to school. Students are more alert and perform better in class if they eat a good breakfast.

Get enough sleep. Studies show that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to feel rested. Sleep deprivation can lead students to fall asleep in class (embarrassing if you're caught!) and can also make it hard to concentrate. It can be more productive to get the sleep you need than it is to stay up late cramming: A recent study found that students who got adequate sleep before a math test were nearly three times more likely to figure out the problem than those who stayed up all night.

Do more at school and you'll have less to do at home. Take advantage of those times during the school day when you're not in class: Review notes, go to the library or computer lab, get a head-start on your homework, or research that big term paper. You'll be thankful later while you're at the mall or a concert and your classmates are stuck at home cramming!

One of the best ways to make friends and learn your way around is by joining school clubs, sports teams, and activities. Even if you can't kick a 30-yard field goal or sing a solo, getting involved in other ways — going to a school play, helping with a bake sale, or cheering on friends at a swim meet — can help you feel like a part of things.

School is a time to make friends and try new things, but it's also a place to learn skills like organization and decision making that will come in handy for the rest of your life.

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