We typically think of New Year’s resolutions as something to be undertaken only at the start of the year. While the academic year may be underway, this is still a perfect time for students to hit the “reset” button and make resolutions that will help them become better learners. A new year means a new semester for most students, which can also mean new classes, new teachers, and new expectations. Here are some academic and organizational resolutions your child can take up to carry him or her into the second semester feeling confident and prepared.
- Clean out your backpack (and room) – If you have too many handouts clogging up your space, take a picture with your phone, store it in Google Docs, and then throw those them away! You’ll be making room for all the new syllabi and course materials you’ll be getting. Find a space on your bookshelf to neatly store old binders, or reuse them if they still have life. If it’s a piece of work you are proud of, keep it in a portfolio. Of course, if it’s something you absolutely need for the final, keep it easily accessible until the test.
- Get to know every teacher – Sending a quick email that politely introduces yourself and talks about how excited you are for the class sets a positive tone for the beginning of the semester. Self-advocacy and communication skills are essential for college and beyond!
- Tackle one challenging aspect of school – Whether it’s studying for tests, turning homework in on time, paying attention during lectures, or eating breakfast before a big exam, you can change your approach to this challenge over the course of a semester. Write this resolution on your whiteboard at home so you remind yourself every day that you can change this one thing!
- Learn a skill that applies to success at school – Have you wondered how to take Cornell Notes, use flashcards effectively, or draft an outline for an essay? There is plenty of information available online, or perhaps you can ask a friend for help. Mastering a new skill can give you a new sense of confidence.
- Start planning for the next big test – If you have the ISEE, HSPT, PSAT, ACT or SAT coming up in 2019, start planning how you will prepare for it. Visit your school counselor to see what support your school offers, and do some research on your own. If you create a calendar for studying, you will become less anxious about the test. It works!
Of course, with many New Year’s resolutions, the key is accountability and asking for help when needed. If your child has a difficult time activating on any of these resolutions, it can be wise to get the help of a tutor. We all need a little boost now and then.
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