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Back to School Tips for Teens

It’s that time of year—back to school. Some of you are psyched for it, looking forward to seeing your friends or taking that certain class. Others not so much. These back to school tips are for all of you.

  • Remember the primary reason you’re there: to learn. Go to class and get as much out of it as you can. Sit where you’re not distracted, and take notes. It will help you pay attention and remember things later. If you’re not sure how to take notes, start by writing down everything the teacher puts on the board or screen. Then develop your own style of notes as you get more experience, or get help from a good student in your class or a teacher. (More on getting help later.)
  • Take care of yourself so you can learn more easily. Get as much sleep as you can—no staying up late playing video games on a school night. Take care of your body; try to eat right and do all of those healthy things you always hear about or read in magazines. And take care of yourself mentally, too—having a mental health problem is no different than having a physical one like a broken leg or cancer or whatever. Ignoring those things just makes them worse. Stay positive and deal with any depression or anxiety or other mental health issues you may have. If you have trouble getting what you need at home, then ask for help at school.
  • Ask for help. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask a nice teacher or counselor or school nurse. If there isn’t a good time during class, ask before or after school or during lunch. If they can’t help, they can usually point you in the right direction. Someone at school will know a good mental health counselor, or have a stash of granola bars in their desk for hungry kids, or have extra pencils, or teach you how to take notes, or be able to refer you to special ed to help with your reading skills—whatever it is. But they won’t know what you need unless you tell them. It’s okay to ask for help.
  • Once you have the basics of what you need, go on to the next step: making school more meaningful and fun. Find a friend or group of friends. If you don’t see anyone you can relate to in class, join a club or activity. Extracurriculars make school more fun. Whether it’s DDF (Drama Debate and Forensics), or GSA, or a sport, there’s probably something interesting going on in school. And nowadays, there’s always groups online. (But of course you’ll want to practice internet safety if you’re going that route.) You have something in common with someone out there. You don’t have to be alone.
  • Push yourself a bit to go out of your comfort zone. Try something new, be friendly even when you feel shy, go to that meeting if you’re curious about something. Discovering who you are and what you’re interested in is the best part of being a teen. You might surprise yourself and find a new lifetime passion. And being nice to people will pay so many benefits to you and the people around you. You’ll make friends where you don’t expect to, and make your school a better place. You have more impact on people’s lives than you realize. Use that for good. You can change the world, a day at a time.

You got this. Good luck! I’m pulling for you. Best wishes for a great school year!

I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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