Useful tips to help you get back into the academic mindset
You probably did not spend all summer studying, and that is okay. You worked hard last school year. Your summer break is well earned! But with the new school on its way, it is time to start preparing both mentally and physically. Here are three helpful tactics that will help you to transition smoothly to the new school year.
Ease back into your sleep schedule
Sleep schedules can often change dramatically over the summer holiday. Getting back into your school year sleep routine can be a challenge, but it is crucial. Good sleep has restorative benefits, making it essential to a healthy mind and body. Resuming your school year sleep schedule will not happen overnight. That is why now is the time to start easing back into it.
Here are some helpful tips: Try to wake up 15 minutes earlier progressively each day. Once you are waking up at the time you would be for school, base your bedtime on how much sleep you need. Children aged 3-5 years require 10-13 hours of sleep. Children aged 6-13 require 9 to 11. Children aged 14-17 require 8-10 hours. Adults 18 and above can get by on 7-9 hours. Maintain the same bedtime (or something as close as possible to it) even on weekends. Anchor your bedtime to an evening routine like low-impact stretching, reading, meditation or a hot cup of non-caffeinated herbal tea. Bookend your sleep with morning habits as well, like opening the curtains once you are awake. Turn all screens and electronic devices off at least 30 minutes before bed, and don't bring electronic devices to bed with you. Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.
Start setting goals
You would not build a house without the blueprints. You would not go on a journey without a map. Similarly, you should not go through your education without goals. Goals give you a vision to work toward and help to create personal accountability. They facilitate focus and help you to benchmark your progress. What would you like to accomplish this school year? Would you like to shave a few seconds off of your swim times? Could your Chinese vocabulary use some improvement? Perhaps this year you would like to get a part in one of our musical theatre productions. These final few weeks of summer holiday offer the perfect opportunity to reflect on what you would like to improve upon or accomplish this year and beyond. One particularly powerful approach for setting goals is the aptly named S.M.A.R.T. technique. Try to think of goals that are:
Specific (Think: "I want to improve my Chinese language skills.")
Measurable (Think: "What is my measure of success? A higher HSK score? Higher letter grades?")
Achievable (Think: "How will I achieve this goal? Studying more? Hiring a tutor?")
Relevant (Think: "Is this a good use of my time? Of course it is!")
Time-bound (Think: "How long will it realistically take me to accomplish this?")
Look forward and backward
Learning is cumulative. There is a connection between what you learned last year and what is in store for you this year. Likely, you have not spent much of the past several weeks reviewing what you learned in the previous school year. With all the fun you have been having, maybe you have even forgotten some of it. Therefore, take this time to review the materials from your classes last year. Look over notes or exams. Skim some of the books you were assigned. Then, see what you can find out about your coursework for the coming year. If possible, request the syllabi or reading lists from your teachers. Ask for advice from an older pupil who has already completed the coursework. Then, see where you can find the connections and continuity between what you learned last year and what you will learn in the coming year.