I hope you are enjoying a wonderful January break. There are still a few days left. Enjoy them!
It is almost impossible to avoid the “Back to School” TV advertisements carefully placed during endless January sports broadcasts. If their intent is to make me feel a little anxious, they are successful! I feel I need to rush to the stationery shop to buy their products, which is naturally what they want me to feel!
What can we do to lessen the new year nerves and get ready for what lies ahead? Here are some tips you may like to consider:
i. A new start – make the most of it and be thankful
There is no purpose in dwelling on the things that happened last year. Treasure up the good things, set aside the disappointments and now begin with a fresh page. The year ahead is an exciting new chapter in your life, and the page is blank now. Anything is possible. Dream big. It’s a brand-new day.
ii. Change something
I bought myself a new pen in the holidays and I am enjoying it very much. It’s a new academic year so change something. Move your desk a little; choose a note book; reorganise study spaces or change your posters. They don’t have to be expensive new study aids or utensils. Change something to set your mind on a new year. Something simple can be powerfully effective.
iii. Get your mind ready
Get your mind ready for the new academic year by thinking about your routines. Start well in advance and you will be amazed at how much easier the commencement will become.
iv. Be filled with optimism for the year ahead
Expect to be amazing. Identify your many strengths and play to them. Focus on your gifts with a thankful heart. Expect the year ahead to be the best one in your life so far, even if the year will bring many challenges and changes. You are so much more than you imagine
v. Stay off the screen for a while – read every day
Reading equips and enlivens your mind. Read every day, especially as you come closer to the start of term. You will be astounded by the lift in confidence you will get if you read ahead in your course, read a text book or novel, read a story about a topic that interests you. Good readers make wonderful learners. Just read. Start today.
vi. Write, write, write – write a little every day
It’s strange how quickly we forget how to write. I found it so challenging to hand-write the first few birthday cards of the year, but it became easier after a while. Write even just a little every day – with pen and paper. It will make an enormous difference to commencement. Keep a short diary or journal, write a letter or make a few notes. You will be glad you did so.
vii. Plan for success
Good preparation is one of the best antidotes for stress. Set up a daily routine. Write it down. Make it easy to keep and plan enough times for rest and good fun. Be in control of your life, making “success” your purpose.
viii. Embrace changes
A new academic year brings change. Welcome them. New people are potentially new friends; teachers to learn from, new rooms, routines, subjects, texts, systems, lockers, teams and even friendship groups offer so many interesting things. These can be daunting but also a lot of fun. Changes bring refreshment and new possibilities. Adopt positive “self-talk” and be confident that you can meet any change that comes. Talk to your parents, your teachers, or your friends. The School Counsellors, Tutors, Heads of House and class teachers are here to help. They want you to succeed. Of course, don’t forget to talk to God about the changes you’re experiencing. God is always there for you.
ix. Support one another
You’re not alone in the experience of a new school year. It’s new for everyone, even for students returning to Barker. Plan to be an encouragement. You have so much to give. You can make good friends by being a good friend. Be a good friend to others by reaching out to them. Smile and be friendly. God has made us to be in a community with one another and to love one another. You will be such a support to our community if you care for others. Practice deep gratitude for everyone you meet.
x. Set goals
Set SMART goals (see http://www.bcbe.org/Page/9529) and make them your guiding star. Don’t make your goals too big. Great journeys are completed by simple steps in manageable stages. Spend some time presenting your goals in a meaningful way and put them on your home noticeboard or on your bedroom door. Look at them most days, especially during the commencement weeks. They will help to keep you focussed.
There are scores of websites dedicated to assist in times of change. Here are some that could help, but there are countless others as well.
Please make early contact with the School support systems at Barker College or with me if we can assist in any way. We want to support you to make this year the best in your child’s life. Our prayers are with you at this lovely time of year.