By: Noelle Iati
The rapidly approaching new school year represents a new beginning for many Willow alumni. Whether you’re beginning high school or college or just entering a new year at the same school, you may feel stress over new classes, teachers, clubs, or friends. The great news is, you’re not alone! It’s normal to feel anxious over the unknown.
Here are some tips for making this next year your best one yet:
- Step outside of your comfort zone. I know, I know, I’m sure everyone is telling you this. But that’s because it’s the truth! If you’re starting a new school, stepping outside of your comfort zone may simply involve talking to and trying to connect with your peers, or joining clubs that fit your interest. For those of you simply entering a new year, maybe this means trying something you haven’t tried before: speaking up in class, running for student government, or trying a sport you’ve never played. This is your time to try new things. Maybe you’ll discover that you really love something you’d never thought to try before!
- Make new friends. No matter who you are or what the coming year means to you, you can always benefit from new friends. There are so many amazing people in your school you will never meet if you only spend time with old friends. By branching out, you may meet the best friend you’ve ever had! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep hanging out with your old friends too! You can incorporate new and old friend groups. Everyone will be happy to meet great new people! But if your friends are creating drama, hurting you, or stressing you out, don’t be afraid to go looking for new people and leave your old friends behind. You should always come first.
- Ask for help. You’ve heard this a thousand times, too. But, seriously, ask for help. Your teachers secretly love it when students come for extra help. In addition to helping you learn the material a little better, you’ll definitely get brownie points for demonstrating your desire to excel in class. If you’re juggling too many classes and need a study hall, talk to your guidance counselor (the same goes for dropping a class in college–talk to your advisor!). Simply can’t wrap your mind around matrices? Your math teacher would love to point you in the right direction outside of class. It can be hard to ask for help because it feels like we’re admitting imperfection. But, in reality, you’re making sure that you are truly engaging in your education and you have all the tools you need to succeed!
- Go to cultural events. Go to sports games. Go to your school’s plays, musicals, and concerts. Your peers work extremely hard, and it means the world when people show up to support them! It can also make school a way more fun place, especially if you don’t love sitting in class. If you start to associate school with the fun you have at extracurricular events, you’ll have an easier time being there during the day, too. This is also a great way to make new friends, especially in college.
- Remember school is just school. School can seem like your entire life. Between focusing on doing well academically and fitting in socially, we can forget that being in school is just temporary. If you don’t do as well in school, academically or socially, that’s okay! There’s so much more to life than school, and you won’t be in school forever. Don’t get too wrapped up in school; it may seem like the most important part of your life, but there’s so much more out there. Focus on the things you love.
- Remember you don’t have to have your whole life planned out now. Whether you’re thinking about where you want to go to college while you’re in high school or choosing your major in college, you may feel like you need to have your whole life planned now…which is extremely stressful! Remember: You don’t need to take all AP or IB classes to be successful. You can transfer schools (I did). You can change majors (I also did this). You’re allowed to take the road less traveled. You’re going to be just fine. Remember that taking care of yourself comes first!
Good luck to everyone this year, and especially to the Classes of 2014 and 2018 as they begin new adventures at:
Bernards High School American University
Cristo Rey Newark High School Boston College
Delbarton School Connecticut College
Kent Place School Drexel University
Mt. Olive High School Lafayette College
Newark Academy Lehigh University
Oratory Prep Rutgers University
Pingry School Tulane University
Proctor Academy University of Arizona Rutgers Preparatory School Wake Forest University
St. Andrews School
West Morris Mendham High School