Heading back to school can be exciting, but scary for students at the same time. Students are thrilled to see old friends, engage in upcoming athletic games, SLS Chapters, homecoming festivities, and pep rallies while feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed. Despite the emotions students have to overcome, the pressure is on for academic success. Students have overloads of homework assignments and exams, while other students are preparing for ACT/SAT testing and college. Preparing for academic success can cause a significant amount of stress for students. According to the American Psychological Association, school is the top source of stress, and it is extremely prevalent among teenagers. Stress can have lasting adverse effects on health such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and can contribute to depression, obesity, and heart disease. Don’t let this scare you, SLS is here to help!! Here are some tips for students to follow as a guideline for a successful, and exciting academic school year.
• Don’t stress, have fun and do your best! We all know school can be very stressful, but it is important to make the best of every moment. Being a part of an SLS Chapter can provide students the opportunity to engage, network, and participate in fun activities, leadership camps, and attend high school conferences!
• Create a balance between school, sports, student organizations, and YOURSELF.
• Think POSITIVE! Use positive affirmations by repeating a positive phrase to yourself every day. Believe in your personal goals and visions. Create positive quotes to put in your locker or bedroom, and remember that NO ONE IS PERFECT. We all make mistakes, but it is important to analyze what went wrong to avoid future mistakes that help us look towards a more positive direction.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for HELP from students, SLS advisors, and faculty staff. Having a supportive environment can help promote academic success.
• Create and organize a schedule for yourself to stay on task with homework, exams, and extra-curricular activities. Also, schedule time for yourself to have FUN.
• Develop effective study habits by prioritizing assignments, create flashcards, utilize a quiet space, and don’t cram for exams. SLS Chapters can create study groups for students. Joining a study group can provide students the opportunity to learn a variety of study methods, and students tend to learn faster when working with peers.
• Try to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night to function at your best. Create some down time for yourself by cutting back on watching tv and utilizing social media. Stay away from caffeinated drinks late at night such as soda or coffee. Develop a consistent sleep schedule, try meditating, reading a book, and dimming the lights 20 minutes before bed.
• Most importantly, learn what works for you! Everybody is unique in their own way, some things that may work for one student may not work for the other student. SLS Chapters can help students discover and develop personal skills and strengths that would help them become effective leaders at their school.
Written by Shaquia Ballard, SLS Prevention Specialist