October is hard.
In September, we had an entire summer vacation to relax us into the new school year. And that is topped off by Labor Day weekend!
If you think about it, during October, we only get Columbus Day off. And for those that get a “Fall Recess,” it only lasts about half a week. Halloween is certainly fun, but we still go to class, and school is on in full force.
October is hard.
Students and teachers: we’ve busted our humps to have a great September. We all started on the right foot, in order to fulfill those new academic year resolutions! Many of us had our first exam at the end of September, and we studied through the long night to earn that A-grade. And seniors have had the additional responsibility of taking more standardized tests, writing the twenty-seventh draft of their college essays, and getting every application polished up.
And now, we have another month to do it over again, with a little less sleep, and maybe a little less pep in our academic step.
Perhaps you’re stressed. Or tired. Or even a little scared.
Well, don’t be! Let me share five things that I consciously try to do that have never failed me during tough times and long stretches:
- Take a dedicated day off. And by day off, I don’t just mean a day where we don’t study or do any homework. I mean don’t even think about work! Don’t worry about the next exam or project. Go for a walk. Hang out with your friends. Lie down on the couch and read a good book, or give in to a little Netflix binge. Let yourself get a full night’s rest. Speaking of which…
- Sleep! Antithetical, I know. Who has the time to sleep? But, you would be surprised how a dedicated, full night’s rest, and a good, non rushed, breakfast in the morning will do wonders for the mind, and the body. Have you ever tried motivating yourself when you feel like you are dragging a 100 pound rock to class, only to spend energy keeping your eyes open? Not fun at all. Believe me: you have time to sleep, and time to eat!
- Organize, organize, organize! This has got to be the number one issue for every student. If you don’t have a planner, now is time to get one. Make a list of manageable tasks that you need to do for classes every day (which means: don’t save studying for an exam or writing a lab report until the last day or two! You should be doing this constantly!). Actually check off each item you do. And feel proud of your accomplishments before you get that full night of rest.
- Be healthy with food, exercise, and outlook. It actually makes a huge difference. I could cite pages worth of studies that show how eating healthy, exercising, and remaining positive, exponentially increases our opportunities for success. Personally, I do small things like take the stairs, and start and end each meeting that I have with a positive comment and a short list of actions to do afterwards. Avoid McDonalds, walk with some friends, and be kind to yourself and others!
- Ask for help. Parents, teachers, tutors, friends, whomever! No one who has been successful in life has done it alone. Ever. Hear their advice, let them comfort and support you, and then you decide what you will do. If you are worried about your transcript, here’s a hint: you don’t get bonus points for working twice as hard, or doing it alone, when teachers submit final grades. Let yourself be successful!
I’m ready for an awesome October. And I want to hear about your successes as well!