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Discover Our Back To School Tips

September 11, 2023
Guest Contributor
SMCS students singing anthem in classroom | Back to school tips

The start of a new school year is filled with excitement, as students reconnect with classmates, meet new ones, and explore opportunities with teachers and mentors. It is also perfectly normal to feel a little nervous during the first few weeks of school, as students adjust to a new post-summer routine with a different course load that brings unique challenges. To better prepare for a successful school year ahead, we’ve put together some essential back-to-school tips, from organization to study strategies, to help make this year your best yet.

Organize Supplies

Every school year, students are required to stock up on the appropriate supplies and materials, which can vary by class and instructor.

To stay on top of your organization, it is helpful to make a checklist of all the supplies you will need, and label them. Make sure to have separate folders or binders for each class, so you can easily access your work, and keep your pens, pencils, and other tools stored securely in a case. Remember: The more organized you are with your supplies, the easier it is to stay on top of your incoming notes and coursework.

Set Goals

Goal-setting is vital to a successful and well-rounded school year. By outlining academic, personal, and extracurricular goals, students can focus their attention and devote energy to achieving them.

Whether a student wants to improve their academic performance, participate in a specific club or activity, or cultivate new friendships, St. Michael’s College School offers many opportunities for students to engage in school life inside and outside the classroom. Setting appropriate goals improves students’ motivation, and helps to build their confidence, so they can discover new passions and hone existing skills.

SMCS students arrive at school well prepared | Back to school tips

Healthy Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet throughout the school year improves students’ focus, optimizes learning, and fuels their mind and body with the energy they need to thrive.

To maintain a healthy diet, it’s important to eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins – and avoid processed foods. Students should plan to keep healthy snacks on hand throughout the day, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can impair concentration and cognitive functioning, so having a water bottle to fill up throughout the day is essential.

Designate Study Space

Between school, home life, and extracurriculars, carving out time for studying can be a challenge. In order to maximize focus and productivity, students should designate a quiet, calm, and comfortable space for studying.

The Odette Library Learning Commons at SMCS is a bright, welcoming, and quiet space for students to work free from distractions. Plus, it offers a variety of print and digital resources for students to facilitate their coursework, and collaborate on group projects. Students can also benefit from the Learning Support system to get help with homework, learn to better manage their time, and navigate challenges with support from guidance counsellors.

Regular breaks

All work and no play makes the school year unnecessarily taxing on students’ time and energy levels. As much as it’s important to stay dedicated, students also need time to rest and recharge.

Incorporating regular breaks into homework routines helps to prevent burnout and maintain productivity. Study breaks can also include time for extracurricular activities, hobbies, and exercise to help reduce stress levels, keep the mind active, and the body energized.

SMCS students take time to unwind and recharge | Back to school tips

Open Communication

Another vital part of a successful school year necessarily entails maintaining open lines of communication with teachers, parents, and peers for support and guidance.

The SMCS staff is always available for students seeking advice or support for their academic careers, or how to navigate a specific challenge related to school work or extra-curricular activities.

It’s also important that parents remain involved in their child’s development and progress, and be available to help students navigate the wonderful highs and inevitable lows of high school.

Moreover, fostering meaningful relationships with peers is invaluable, as it allows students to connect outside of the classroom, and offer support if a classmate is struggling.

SMCS students also have access to a wide range of support services, courtesy of the Student Wellness office. Guidance counsellors as well as a full-time Student Wellness Officer are available to students and families to facilitate communication, and oversee the overall mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of every student.

To make the most of the school year ahead, students are encouraged to set aside some time to mentally prepare for their academic curriculum by organizing their school supplies, setting clear goals, designating a productive workspace and focus on healthy habits that support their overall well-being. High school is also a time for having fun and forming lifelong friendships. With a little planning, you can start – and complete – the year on a high note.