How to Survive the Top 5 Back-to-School Stressors

By Lauren Galley

LAUREN-200x30011-11.  6:00 am is too early!

If you find it problematic to wake up in time for class or miss the bus feeling tired and slow pre-lunch, you are not alone. Many teenagers have the same sleeping troubles like needing long study hours and going to sleep late. You may have been up way too late watching your favorite show on Netflix again! Whichever way, you need help getting enough sleep and getting up on time.

Decide what time you need to wake up, get ready and get to school on time. Set your alarm twenty minutes before. You will find this extra time buffer really helps, trust me on this. Go to bed eight hours before to get sufficient sleep. Make it a habit to wake up at this time every day. I know its not always easy, but I have noticed that when I get more sleep, I retain more information while in class.

Eat a fast, nutritious breakfast. Dont fall into the pop tart trap. Even though they taste yummy, they are not very good for you. If you’re not a fan of early rising, make your breakfast the evening before and put it in a plastic bag for an easy on-the-go treat. I have had a particularly tough time with this one. In the mornings, my stomach just doesnt want a big meal, so I usually packed a healthy granola bar to eat on the bus or in class, if my teacher allowed it. However, the preferred meal would be a bowl of cereal and yogurt with orange juice, or toast with jelly and a glass of milk. It will kick start your digestion and wake you up.

2. Too much homework!

Four teachers gave me homework that is due tomorrow!! You can solve this stress with good organization. I was very stressed in high school due to the amount of homework I was getting. There didnt seem to be enough hours in the day, and the fact that I was in AP classes didnt help. But never fear! I tackled this stressor, and you will too.

Once you finish homework for a specific subject, reward yourself by taking a small break. Take a walk, eat dinner, check your social media. Just make sure its quick. I would suggest no more than 15 minutes. Do not turn on the TV or you wont ever go back and finish your homework….I’ve been guilty of this and the outcome is never good. Sometimes I even set an alarm for fifteen minutes, so I know when my break is over.

Make sure you are not overdoing homework. Only do what is necessary. For example, if your English homework is only one page in the book, do not also do page two, three and four! Although over-achieving is not a bad thing, this will make your workload seem much larger than it actually is. If I have time after I finish all of my required homework, sometimes I do a little extra for practice… But only if Im feeling up to it!

3.  What if I don’t like my teacher?

The meeting with your teachers and parents is getting closer, and you are sure what your parents are going to hear is not even near to what you want them to hear. Its not that you dont try, but your teachers just seem to not like you at all. Want the circumstances to change? I had my fair share of teachers I didnt connect with in high school, however I found a way to create a mutual respect between us.

Pay attention carefully and take notes during the lesson. It will not only give you a good reputation with your instructor, but it will also help you in the study department. Your teacher puts hours and hours of his or her time into getting ready for class. To pay attention is just common courtesy. I never realized how much my teachers could notice or see until I presented a project to my class. I knew exactly who was paying attention and who wasnt!

Remember that your teachers are people too. They have families they go home to every night, and they deal with a lot of the same pressures that you do. Take a little extra time out of your day to simply have a genuine conversation with them. You may be surprised by how kind they can truly be. Most people dont become teachers for the money… They do it because they genuinely care about you and want to help. So, let them!

 4. Keeping up with the trends!

Having good clothes can improve your attitude and give you a sense of importance. The first step to self-assurance is having confidence and liking what you see in the mirror… clothes can help with this if worn correctly. Its unfortunate that your peers will judge you for what you wear, but the most important thing is for you to love your clothes.

Wear the correct kind of clothes for your body. Dont buy clothes that are too tight or too short. Good clothing often starts with the way they fit. For example, high necklines shorten necks, tight tops with short sleeves and pockets are detracting from your figure, and shoes with straps make your legs appear shorter than they truly are. Knowing these little facts can make a huge difference in the way you view yourself.

Remember that the brand of jeans you wear in high school will have absolutely no effect on your future, but your academics will. Its easy to get wrapped up in the drama of high school, but as long as you are happy, thats all that matters. Oh, and a great tip… There is ALWAYS a cheap version of the latest, most expensive trends. I have had a lot of luck in affordable stores, and no one would have ever guessed my outfit was on sale.

5. What if I don’t fit in?

People are logically social creatures. It is normal to want to be accepted by others because from an evolutionary position, it is what has helped us survive over the years. If youve moved to a new school or just continually find yourself being the odd person out, dont be hard on yourself. Making friends is a problematic task for people of all ages.

Be watchful of the social norms at your school. Your desired group is likely appealing because they have drifted from certain behaviors and interests that may not be the most popular among your peers. The objective group may be vegan and in your school, being “cool” may mean not eating animals or animal products. If you are not vegan and dont wish to be, then dont change who you are, just to fit in with the “in” crowd. If they don’t like you as a person, then you shouldnt waste your time!

Present yourself to the group with confidence. Now that you have a rough idea of the groups interests and personalities, try to make them aware of your presence in a self-assured, non-timid manner. Dont forget, confidence doesnt mean abrasiveness. Try not to be too forceful or assertive when making friends. Its not necessary to try so hard! Just be YOU! Joining a club that interests you is an awesome way to meet likeminded friends.