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The Dos and Donts for Starting School Off Right

Christian Arntzen, Millbrook School

Get the most out of your school year with these simple tips.Prior to my arrival at my new school, Millbrook, I had no idea how my year was going to be. To say I was a little nervous would be an understatement. My gut told me everything would be all right, but my mind was still playing games with me. Thankfully, my gut was right.  In my time there, I have learned skills for how to spot a challenge, face it head on, and how to take advantage of a new environment.  Learn from my experience with these tips for starting off school right.

DON’T write off new people.

In the beginning of my school year I made friends with John. He was a nice guy but as smart a kid as he was, his work ethic was nonexistent. Constantly playing games and messing around, John always seemed to get caught at the wrong times, so I decided to distance myself from him.  However, my faculty advisor told me to not take the easy way out and work on it.  His words struck me and instead of breaking off my friendship with Jack, I worked on it.  We were able to continue our friendship, which both of us benefited from, and I was very glad I didn’t give up on him.

DO talk to advisors at the start of the year.

Advisors, guidance counselors, and teachers are all there to help you through school, lead you to the best decisions, and assist you with getting to the next step in your educational career.  During the first two weeks of school, get ahead of the curve and meet with your advisor or counselor.  It’s always good to put a face to a name and taking that extra step to make a personal connection will ensure your advisor has your needs top of mind from the very beginning.

DON’T lose track of time.

Or, rather, don’t spend too much energy on time-consuming diversions.  In the effort of trying to help a new friend be more responsible, I lost my focus on my schoolwork, finding myself wasting precious study hours trying to get him to work.  In time, my grades suffered.  With this came the realization you can only help others so much and, without a real effort on his end, I was doing a disservice to myself by investing so much energy into the situation.  I decided to put my foot down, focus on my work, and allow my friend to be independent.  He rose to the challenge and I got my grades back on course.

DO understand school is a primer for future experiences.

As high school students, we can often minimize our current situations by saying, “It’s only high school.”  While, in truth, we do have many more experiences ahead of us, what we learn from our time here is a primer for those experiences. In life, one will always run into people they don’t see eye to eye with; whether it is a boss, a coworker, a colleague, or a roommate. Whether one likes it or not, they’re there to stay. Quitting is not an answer; it’s just an easy way to escape. Instead of running away from the challenge, try facing it head on.  The lesson you will learn is far better than what running away will teach you, and it will be an experience you can always look back on when you need courage later on.