Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back To School Advice

It's hard to believe, but it's already "back to school" time. This time of year makes me extremely nostalgic. Sometimes I wish I was back in school. Sometimes I count my lucky stars that I'm not in school. No matter where you stand, though, we can all admit that when you're going back to school, whether you are a 5 year old starting kindergarten or a seasoned teacher getting your classroom and lesson plans ready, this time of year brings out the butterflies.

Today I want to offer some advice to students going back to the classroom. 

Although you may be nervous, this is also so exciting. You are about to begin a brand new year, full of fresh opportunities. There are memories to be made, friendships to spark, lessons to learn and so much room to grow. It's normal to be nervous. Most people will probably tell you to walk into that school with your head held high and not to worry about what others say to you. I'm going to tell you, straight up, that there will be days where you can't hold your head high. There will be days where you fight with your best friend or get a bad grade or just have a rough day. And that's okay. You're allowed to look down. You're allowed to be sad. What you can't do, though, is let that one moment define your entire life. It will be okay. What you also must know is that you are never alone. Even if it feels like the entire world is against you, you are deeply loved and cared for. You're also not the only one feeling sad, scared, or like you don't "fit in". Every single one of us has been there. 

It's so easy to get caught up in drama, or to treat life like a competition. We want to look good, we want to be the best athlete, we want to be the funny one or the smart one. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. You don't have to be the best, you just need to try your best. Find what it is you love to do and do that. It may take some trial and error. You may think you are destined to be a professional volleyball player but learn that you actually prefer theatre. That's okay. Try new things. Treat yourself with new opportunities. You never know who you may meet along the way or what kinds of adventures you may have. Also, it doesn't matter if what you want to do is "cool" or not. Just try it. Years from now you will wonder why you ever cared about being cool. In the long run, it so doesn't matter. The "popular" group? They are just like you. It just so happens that one day someone decided they were the popular group. That's it. It's not because they are any better than you. 

On the bad days, the really bad ones, the ones that make you want to lock yourself in your room, just remember that those days don't last forever. Remember that you are a human being who is worth being loved and cared for, so please take care of yourself. You're destined for something big on this earth, don't miss your chance to shine.

Don't spend all of your free time on social media. Have conversations. Get to know your classmates and teachers, face to 
face. Talk to your siblings about their day. Don't miss the chance to have real life conversations with those that you love. It may not seem like it now but life will felt by you, and you don't want to look back and have no memories besides your Twitter feed. 

Pay attention to your teachers. They are dedicating their lives to enriching yours. They work countless hours to prepare you, teach you, and guide you. You are their number one priority. They have a vested interest in your life and well being. So even if they are "boring" or even if they have you a C when you felt you deserved an A, pay attention. Ask questions. Each teacher will leave you with at least one valuable lesson, if you let them.

Treat those around you with kindness and respect. There is no need to be cruel or harsh. People will remember how you treat them. They will remember that more than they remember anything else about you. So treat them in a way that you want to be remembered. 

Remember to thank your parents. They are making sacrifices for you and they are putting your first. You may find it totally embarrassing to have them around now, and maybe you don't see eye to eye, but chances are, they are your number one fan. Let them be. 

In summary: Each day is a new chance. Take risks. Be brave. Reach out for help  when you need it. Give others a hand when they are struggling. Be kind to yourself and to those around you. Make memories. Be you. 

Good luck this school year, and know that there are millions of us who have been where you are, and we've all survived. 

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