How to Adjust from Summer to School

Nobody likes how summer ends so suddenly. The beginning of the year is stressful, but the tips below will help you handle the transition in a smoother, more efficient manner.

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Sophia Jiang

1. Start waking up at normal times one or two weeks before school starts

Your body needs time to adjust to waking up early. If you’ve been waking up late during the summer, it’s a good idea to gradually start waking up earlier. Set your morning alarm to go off earlier in specific increments every day, depending on how late you wake up. For example, if you wake up at 9 AM, you only need to scale back by 30 minute increments for 4 days; for the last 3 days of the week, get used to waking up at 7 AM. Plan however you feel is best for you!

2. In the first one or two weeks of school, spend your lunches asking teacher’s questions and getting homework done

Switching from summer to school is going to be a tough transition, especially if you participate in clubs or sports. Thus, you will need all the time you can get to adjust to your classes. The best way to find out more about your classes is to ask your teachers! If you want to know more about the syllabus or get some homework help, don’t be shy to reach out. This will ensure that you aren’t behind schedule with school. Once you get more used to the workloads and content, then you can start spending more of your lunches doing things you want to do – like hanging out with friends! 

3. Organize your email from the start

A disorganized email can make school seem hectic – all of a sudden, your email is being pelted by various updates from all of your teachers and document shares from your classmates! The best way to alleviate this issue is by dragging your emails into folders, sorted by classes. At the end of each day, spend just a few minutes moving emails to the correct categories. This will make your life easier later on so you aren’t fishing for emails on a short notice.

4. Order school supplies ASAP

Naturally, different classes demand different supplies. Some don’t require any and are completely chromebook-based, while in others, binders or folders are essential. In the first few days of school, once you find out what you need, write out a list, and get them as soon as you can so you can stay organized as early as possible. I would recommend you keep your supplies from previous years if they are not too beat up and reuse them, or buy a few items during the summer (notebooks, binders, folders, pencils) that you know you’ll most likely need. Some good places to order school supplies from are Amazon, Target, or Walmart! Students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are having financial trouble purchasing school supplies can see the list of free school supplies programs in Dane County.

5. Use your calendar/assignment notebook/reminder apps

Make sure to look ahead in the coming weeks so you are prepared for any events, assignments, or tests coming up! Try to get small, shorter assignments done as early as possible; for long, difficult assignments, start them earlier so you can turn them in with the best possible quality and on time. You also won’t get as stressed out! Write yourself reminders and make sure to make yourself a daily agenda.

6. Study for tests in advance

Trust me – cramming at 2 AM is not very effective. Don’t wait until the last minute to study for tests. For history tests, start reading earlier. For math tests, do practice problems earlier! The more you practice, the better you get, and you can’t get enough practice if you start studying too late.

7. Pay attention – put the phone down!

Learning during class saves time on homework because you’ll be less confused! Make sure you listen to what your teacher is saying because their instructions are bound to clear up any doubts you have when you actually do your homework. Think about it this way: active classroom learning saves homework time, which gives you more time to do fun activities you like, including spending some (not a lot!) of time on your phone!

8. Get enough water, food, and sleep!

Hydration improves cognitive function in adolescents, so you need to drink lots of water to stay concentrated and focused! Make sure you are eating enough as well. A well balanced diet gives you enough energy to stay active during the day, especially if you are an athlete. Finally, your brain cannot function properly without enough sleep, which improves your mood, reduces stress, and helps you think more clearly.