As the holidays draw to a close, there’s that bittersweet feeling about the new school year. It’s the excitement of a fresh start but also the dreadful early mornings and piles of homework. There’s bound to be anxiety because of the new class with strangers as classmates. Or even the fear of the unknown subjects being thrown at you. These might be overwhelming and daunting. But there’s also the after-school trips, also known as the “shuugaku ryokou” (修学旅行), and school festivals like the “bunkasai” (文化祭), a cultural festival you don’t want to miss!
Regardless of how we feel about the situation, it’s best to prepare yourself in advance. From the mindset to the actual physical objects, easing your way into the new school year is always the better option than winging it the first week back.
New School Year, New Me
You know the saying “new year, new me”? Well, it applies to the new school year as well! Everyone deserves a fresh beginning. Forget all the things you’ve done the previous school year like that embarrassing moment no one can seem to forget. Or that exam paper you were upset about because you missed a higher grade by a mark. Start afresh! Go into the new school year head first with only optimism and positivity.
Here are five steps to get you in the right mindset and prepare for this exciting year!
1. Set Goals
Get pumped by setting some goals for yourself! It’s said that the best way to know what kind of goals to set is to evaluate yourself. Think of some that are within your capability and control rather than things that you can’t change.
For example, if in the previous year you weren’t managing your time well, aim to be better at time management this year. If you were sad about not having enough friends to hang out with after school, make more of an effort to make new ones! Here’s a helpful phrase to ask someone to be your friend: “tomodachi ni natte kudasai!” (友達になってください！)
2. Get Ahead
Regardless of what kind of leap you’re taking into the new year, it’s always best to get ahead on the curriculum. If you’re starting at a new school (from junior high school to high school), the subjects you’ll be taking might be new to you. Read up the new books in advance so you won’t get stumped in class.
If it’s a grade up in the same school, clear up any homework given early rather than leaving it to the last minute. Looking through the next few chapters that will be covered during the new school year is a great way to get ahead too! Maybe try out some practice exercises. Don’t worry if you get them wrong, because you’re just testing the waters!
3. Build Routines
The holiday is definitely a wonderful break from rigid schedules of school. Having relaxation time is what everyone is due once in a while. But when the new school year comes around, it’s time to build a healthy routine again! This will help you to gain momentum and set the pace for the year.
Make sure that when you start building your own personal routine, there’s a balance between work and play. Include the downtime as well. If you like playing sports, have that on weekends. If you love reading, add half an hour every other day to accommodate to that. But don’t forget to schedule in ample time to complete your “shukudai“ (宿題, which means homework in Japanese)!
4. Organise Your Space
A messy space is a messy head! Before the new school year starts, take some time out to clear your space. It can be your desk or even your whole room. It can also include your messy bookshelves where all your chucked textbooks and notes are in. Having a tidy space will make you feel motivated and in the study mode after a school day. What’s more, cleaning and organizing can be somewhat therapeutic.
5. Treat Yourself
There’s no use lying about this: a shopping spree always brings about a burst of positive feelings. Take this opportunity to go on one! Get that luxurious pen you’ve been wanting for ages but never found the occasion to get it. Or that slightly too expensive notebook with the fancy cover. Now’s your chance to go all out without anyone judging you!
Stationeries are one thing to treat yourself to, but also think of what other stuff that will help you during the new school year. Maybe an aesthetically-pleasing wall calendar that goes well with your room’s decor? Or even some folders to put at the side of your desk for all the loose pieces of notes. Whatever tickles your fancy!
There’s no way that these five wonderful steps did not get you pumped to start the new school year. Think about the newly bought school uniforms, fresh from the store and without a stain in sight. What about that peaceful walk to school under the sakura (桜, which means cherry blossom) trees as the petals slowly rain down?
Get excited, be prepared, and welcome the new academic school year with big, welcoming arms!