I have stuff to do. However, there’s a Youtube video requires my unyielding attention. There’s a movie that’s coming out that I want to see. There’s a new episode of Mr. Robot that’s bound to leave me dumbfounded. There’s always tomorrow.
But alas, the summer days of limitless procrastination have given way to the rigid deadlines of homework. Tomorrow isn’t another word for respite anymore; it’s another word for deadline. The shift is undesired and jarring. It’s dreaded and uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be a time for fresh starts, revised goals, and ultimately, success in the new year. The only requirement is a change of mindset.
Summer is the most liberating time of year. It’s a time of late nights, relaxation, entertainment, exploration, and, perhaps most importantly, no school. It’s a time of boredom for some, freedom for others, excitement for all. But even if you’ve had a summer of vegetation, where nothing worthwhile is done, it’s a period of rest from the chaotic nature of a high school student. How can you change your mindset from such a state of bliss?
My most important tip is don’t try to dive headfirst into schoolwork. As appealing as it sounds, immersing yourself into a world of assignments and papers when your fresh off summer will only produce frustration as you struggle to gain your bearings in an upside down world. Instead, try easing into the assignments. Maybe watch one or two Youtube video before reading the assigned pages from the textbook. Maybe take a nap before you tackle calculus. Doing things you enjoy allows your mind to decompress after a day at school, and I will do it on occasion even in the middle of the year if there’s a particularly brutal day.
It may seem like I’m advocating procrastination. Putting things off for later is always a dangerous prospect, and consequently it comes with a catch. It might be obvious, but always make sure to budget enough to finish your work before it gets too late at night. Allocating time to relax is invaluable for reducing stress and not feeling overwhelmed, but it’s a double-edged sword.
A special note must be made for procrastination though. While it might work with the summer assignments, as a general rule of thumb, it won’t work with actual assignments. Sure, you had the whole summer to do the summer assignment, and it only took a few minutes the day before school. But the paper that’s due in the three weeks won’t work like that. If you are already stuck in the habit of procrastination, things like schedules are essential to restoring balance in your life.
What I find most rewarding about having a strong work ethic is the sense of accomplishment after all tasks for the day are completed. It’s heart warming to hold a paper that’s the result of your hard work. It’s one of the joys that comes with having homework, and one of the best means to reinvigorate your work ethic.
By smoothing out the transition from summer to school, you allow yourself to start the year off without a jaded attitude towards school, which is essential to ensuring you produce high quality work. It’s always easier to match high quality work to the teacher’s expectations than try to pass off low quality work as something that could be considered acceptable.
And in the end, work ethic is one of the most important skills that you’re building as you progress through the school system. It’s not something that you simply forget over the summer like skills you gain from a math or science class. While it may take some brushing off from months of neglect, it’ll always stay with you. The “spring cleaning,” so to speak, is the roughest part of the beginning of the school year. Hopefully, by keeping the beginning of the school year relatively light-hearted, the transition will be relatively painless and a great start to a new year.