Getting Back Into the Swing of School
September 10, 2019
After two and a half months of rest and relaxation, plunging right back into a hectic work schedule shocks many high school students and creates feelings of overwhelming anxiety. However, there are many ways to ease back into the school year and cut down on the initial back-to-school chaos.
In order to feel energized throughout long school days, students must re-adjust to a school-year sleeping schedule. Many teenagers practically become nocturnal during the summer months, which creates a large issue during the first few weeks of school when students must be awake and ready to learn by 7:20 a.m.
Thankfully, there are a few options in which one can mend their sleep schedule and restore their energy. Firstly, going to sleep 10-15 minutes earlier each night can drastically improve one’s internal clock. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers should get 8-10 hours of sleep each night; only 15% of teenagers have confirmed that they do so. Trying to scale back and going to sleep three hours prior to when one normally would proves extremely difficult and almost impossible for most teens. Slowly going to sleep earlier each night will make a huge difference in the long run, and hopefully add at least an hour to one’s daily sleeping time.
Furthermore, avoid napping during the daytime: according to Everyday Health, this disrupts one’s sleeping schedule and makes it increasingly more difficult to fall asleep at night. Additionally, taking advantage of “recovery sleep” can revitalize students who find themselves falling asleep in class during the week. Sleeping for 12-15 hours, two to three days in a row, can cure extreme sleep-deprivation. Essentially, take advantage of the weekend and sleep as much as possible.
Investing in some sort of student planner can create a world of organizational difference. At each grade’s orientation, each Palmetto student received an agenda. Taking advantage of these is of the utmost importance in order to have a successful year; remembering every single assignment each day, including all activities, sports, club meetings or work schedules proves exceedingly difficult.
Furthermore, the calendar app can be found on any smartphone and setting reminders to study for tests, finish up projects or pick up a little sibling from school can ease some of the stress of a packed, 12-hour day. Knowing that one will be reminded of daily responsibilities and eliminating the possibility of forgetting them can ease even the most highly-strung student.
Setting goals can serve as motivation to persevere through the toughest of school days. Writing down that dream university, job or vacation can give one something to work towards. The importance of actually writing down these goals and posting them in a bedroom or on the fridge has been scientifically-proven to increase the chances of these goals being achieved, and has to do with external storage and encoding. According to Forbes, posting written goals somewhere visible guarantees higher success rates in actually achieving those goals. Secondly, the encoding process, a brain mechanism involving the hippocampus, is reinforced when one writes things down. In essence, writing things down helps in actually remembering and succeeding in these goals.
For students who have completely loaded up on AP classes and extracurricular activities, you are not alone. Countless Palmetto students’ schedules are packed and at times, it may feel impossible to get everything done and still have time to eat, sleep, and breathe.
Daniel Fein, a senior at Palmetto, is the President of the Science Club, Vice President of Competitions for MAO (Math Honor Society), a member of the Social Science Honor Society, competes in the Science Bowl and History Bowl and helps run Tutoring for Tomorrow. He also competes in Odyssey of the Mind, a creative, problem-solving competition in which competitors have to build vehicles and put on a performance, and has participated in since the first grade. He takes six AP Classes at Palmetto and Calculus 3 as part of the Dual-Enrollment Program at Miami-Dade College. Fein has earned straight A’s every year so far.
“Know when every deadline is and do stuff before the deadline,” Fein said. “Just pay attention relentlessly, in every class. If you pay attention [in class] then you don’t have to study as hard and you don’t have to waste time before tests.”
Essentially, maximizing what can be done in school makes life after 2:20 p.m. significantly easier. Procrastination blocks one from achieving one’s goals, and as Fein said, put the finishing touches on each assignment way before the due date. Life will become way easier.
Everyone makes mistakes and there is a significant learning curve at the beginning of the school year due to new classes, schedules, and demands. If you have to pull that all-nighter, or you forgot about an assignment and now you only have one hour to write an essay before the 11:59 p.m. Turnitin deadline, take a deep breath. Hundreds of students before you have made that mistake, and hundreds after you will be in that same position too. Incorporating healthy habits takes time; put in the maximum amount of effort to achieve the best results possible.