March is fast approaching and for many of you this means that you are already well into your first term of school. I also know that, despite this, some of you are still in that holiday state of mind and have not quite adjusted to the mental and physical demands of school life just yet. And it’s quite understandable; the summer holidays last for a good two months, wherein most of us sink into a sort of idle state and begin to display qualities similar to that of a sloth. By the time school starts, it’s as if your mind has clouded over and a small layer of dust has formed on the surface of your brain from lack of use, and it takes a while for those clouds to clear and a fair bit of work to get that brain back into action.
I write this article in the hope to help you get out of that holiday mode so by the time January ends, you are all ready for the school year ahead. I realise that school has already started for most of you so this article comes a little late, however, you can still implement the following strategies in order to shorten your adjustment period so you can achieve the correct state of mind for school sooner. Better late than never!
DO YOUR HOLIDAY HOMEWORK
Now let’s be real here, most of you probably didn’t begin your holiday homework until the week before the first day of school. I did it, my friends did it, you did it, your friends probably did it, everyone did it (except for you super organised and motivated students who finished all your homework before New Years, in which case I envy you, and you can probably skip to the next point). Whilst leaving all your homework so late is not recommended, I do believe completing it in the latter half of your holidays, and leading up to the beginning of the term, is more beneficial than getting it out of the way at the beginning of the holidays.
Holiday homework is set so that you can familiarise yourself with the content and types of assessments assigned in a given subject. This is so that you can come to the first classes of the coming school year feeling somewhat prepared. If you were to finish all your homework within the first week of holidays, two months will pass whereby all the content will get buried and forgotten (unless you revise them). By beginning your homework three or so weeks before the end of the holidays, not only will the content be fresh in your mind when you go back to school, but you will be able to adjust back into the habits of studying and doing work before school starts. It’ll also help you get that rusty penmanship back into shape!
USE A PLANNER
During the holidays, our perception of time becomes somewhat distorted; weekends blur into weekdays and day blurs into night. All of a sudden, knowing what time or what day of the week it is becomes unimportant because every day is spent wasting away at home in bed anyway. When school starts, suddenly there’s a timetable you have to follow, and remembering what time and what day it is becomes imperative to getting to the right classes on time and completing tasks before their due date.
Using a planner can help in gaining back a sense of time and dates, even before school begins. Start noting down your plans for the holidays into a planner, be it a party or lunch with some friends, so that you can follow a structured weekly plan. This is not to say you shouldn’t make any spontaneous trips to the beach, using a planner will just make it easier to ease back into a daily routine once school starts as you’ve gotten used to a schedule instead of succumbing to the holiday induced haze.
FIX YOUR SLEEPING SCHEDULE
During the holidays, many of us take full advantage of our boundless free time and absence of a 9am class, resulting in staying up to horrifically late hours and not waking up until 3pm later that day. However, in the weeks leading up the start of school, try to begin to adjust that sleeping schedule back to fit school hours. This involves having the self discipline to say good bye to your friends on Messenger earlier, turning off social media notifications, and saying no to two consecutive late night outings that might ruin your adjustment progress. Changing your sleeping schedule is not a one-night process, it is slow and takes place over several weeks, so it’s best to start early so that getting up for the first day of school doesn’t sound like an Olympic marathon of a task.
Having enough sleep will also improve your performance in school, as you will be mentally sharper and physically stronger to undertake the tasks required of you to a high level and last the whole school day without feeling tired. You will also store the information learnt more effectively. So prioritise sleep!
BUY NEW STATIONERY (or anything that will motivate or excite you for the upcoming school year)
Now this one is a little subjective, but I feel like it is still worth putting on this list. A few days ago I went shopping for my university stationery. This included pens, folders, notebooks, even a new pencil case (finally letting go of the same one I have been using for nine years). I admit, before this shopping trip I wasn’t all that keen for university at all; I just wanted the holidays to last for all eternity. However, after getting my new stationery I suddenly became excited to begin filling in those folders and putting those new pens to use. I also had a similar feeling when I bought my planner for 2016; I couldn’t wait to start filling it in with important uni dates and all the events I would attend throughout the year. So whether it be buying a new school bag, a laptop, a pencil, anything, buying something that will excite you for the school year will definitely help towards getting you out of that holiday mode and into the school mode faster.
Finally, this last tip is not applicable to the summer holidays but to mid term holidays: try not to sink too deep into the holiday state of mind during these short two weeks between terms. Treat the two weeks as school weeks if you can, but if you are lazy like me, try to at least keep your sleeping schedule in check and also do a couple hours of study a few times a week. After all, at the end of the year you will have two months of freedom (three if you’re in year 12) where you are free to do whatever you want, so make use of those mid term breaks.
- Written by Anna :>