By: Hannah Kerlan
Art by Tracy Zhang
The school year has officially begun. Homework is now more than just syllabi readings and “tell me about you” writing assignments. You might have three quizzes today or two tests tomorrow, and you might already be debating between staying up until 4 am or waking up at 4 am to finish work. But, with the tips of study specialist Mrs. Askew and high school guidance counselor Mrs. Parker, you won’t have to be a stressed turkey to be a successful turkey this school year:
MRS. ASKEW’S STUDY TIPS:
Make a list of priorities, not to-dos.
Askew recommends that you make a list of your tasks, focusing on prioritizing only the most important. Make your to-do list less overwhelming by breaking the list down into two sections: a section for work due today or tomorrow that has to get done immediately and a section for what can wait. Out of the assignments that must get done immediately, do the assignment you are least looking forward to first.
Know when to stop based on your focus levels.
Askew recommends that beginning to feel unfocused is the first sign that it’s time to stop, whether that’s putting the study guide down or closing the textbook. Oftentimes, when we feel like quitting, it can be hard to decide whether you really need to quit or whether you just really want to quit. But, if your brain is tired, then you will not retain any information anyways. Therefore, there is no point in continuing at that moment. Although, you may not have to quit for the night, you might just need a break, especially if you haven’t given yourself one yet.
Work hard without overworking yourself.
Askew explains that there is a fine line between working hard and overworking yourself. Her two best tips for not crossing the line are prioritize and take breaks when you need them. Learn to realize what must be done now and what can be done later. In addition to prioritizing different assignments, it is also important and necessary to prioritize rest, specifically sleep.
Best study tip? Stay active in the classroom.
While you might think of flashcards or Quizlet when it comes to studying, Mrs. Askew recommends studying at school by staying present in the classroom at all times. Be an active participant by having questions prepared before class and writing down any questions that come up during class. Make sure these get answered before the end of the period. Additionally, Mrs. Askew recommends staying away from what she calls the “Hermione approach”: DON’T MEMORIZE EVERYTHING.
MRS. PARKER’S SELF CARE TIPS:
Get back to the basics.
Self-care during the school year does not have to be complicated. Ask yourself the basic questions: Are you sleeping enough? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting fresh air? And, as difficult as it may be, are you limiting your time on social media?
Don’t overprogram your schedule.
If there is one component of self-care that Mrs. Parker recommends prioritizing the most, it is SLEEP, and 8 to 10 hours a night of it. Learn how to say no, have unplanned time in your day just to be, and try to limit your daily time on social media to thirty minutes. All of these habits ensure that you make time for sleeping. As Mrs. Parker explained, if you don’t make time for sleep, a vicious cycle occurs in which everything becomes progressively more difficult. For example, the fewer hours of sleep you get, the more anxiety you have; although, because you are not well-rested, you don’t have the energy to process this anxiety, causing it to worsen. While staying up late to work might be a short-term fix, this decision could lead to a long-term problem in which lack of sleep becomes habitual.
“Recreate yourself everyday.”
Mrs. Parker recommends “getting off the hampster wheel” by doing something that you personally find joyful everyday. This could involve reading before bed instead of scrolling on a phone or taking thirty minutes to just do you. When you make the conscious decision to choose self over school when you need to, your life becomes more balanced and fulfilling. Those who consistently stay on the hamster wheel, on the other hand, become more anxious and less confident in who they are as a person and what kind of life they are creating for themselves.
Talk to someone.
While Mrs. Parker recommends that, if it is 12:30am and you still have homework left, you should go to bed and explain to your teacher the circumstances the next day, she also recommends that you must come to the realization, at same point, of whether this happens one or two times every once in a while, or one or two times repetitively. If these circumstances repeat consistently, don’t try and fix it yourself! Go talk to Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Askew, or Dr. Stakem so you can understand what you may be doing wrong in terms of time-management or decide whether any changes to your schedule are necessary.
Life as a turkey can be difficult, but you are never alone. St. Mary’s has plenty of resources for you. Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Askew have made sure to emphasize that if you need any help with self-care or study tips, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with either or both of them. And remember, you don’t have to be a stressed turkey to be a successful turkey.
For & By Students
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