Kaitlyn De Armas ('21)
The transition from sleeping in and relaxing at the beach to late nights doing homework and studying can be difficult, but there is no way to avoid coming back to school. On top of that, the end of summer brings the start of a new school year in a new grade. This change means new responsibilities and harder classes. The best and easiest way to get through this “beginning of the year slump” is to embrace the change and work hard.
Here are five tips on how to get back into the swing of things and start the school year off right.
Get ahead. It may seem difficult to manage a demanding workload, but it really will be easier in the long run to get ahead on your work. Try your best to finish your homework the day it is assigned, so if it takes longer than expected or if you end up needing help, you have the extra time to work on it. Even if that means doing a couple extra hours of work on the weekends, it will make the week go by much smoother. Work ahead, so you are not rushing the night before an assignment is due. This will ensure that your work is the best it can be, so you can start the year off strong.
Make a Schedule. Planning out your work for the week can help you get a perspective on how you need to balance your workload. If you have a late game one night or a big test, plan out your work accordingly, so that you can be successful both in and out of school. At the beginning of the school year, each student received a planner, which can be used to record homework and manage your time. If you are more tech savvy, the calendar on your phone or apps, like Monday.com, can help you see what is coming up in the week. It may seem tedious, but it will make the week far less stressful.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers or peers for help! Go to office hours or labs to ensure that you are meeting and exceeding expectations with your work. You can find your teachers in office hours from 9:50 to 10:30 on Mondays, 2:00 to 2:40 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the 2:40 to 3:20 flex time/office hours block on Wednesdays. You are dealing with new classes and a heavy workload, so it is likely that you will need to become accustomed to how each class is run.
Take care of yourself. This sounds cliché, but when we are thrown into new and stressful situations it can be easy to forget about what is important. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, drinking water, and eating balanced meals. For example, fill up a reusable water bottle to have with you throughout the day. Not only is this good for your mental health, but it will also allow you to work efficiently. You will be more focused and be able to work better if you are feeling your best.
Take a break. Although the beginning of the school year can be stressful, it can also be really exciting. This time is packed with fun activities and events, such as Theme Nights and the Club Fair. Take advantage of these times to relax and spend time with friends. Having to work will not be as bad if you are able to balance it with enjoyment, like the addition of midweek target runs.
To help make that transition a little smoother, students from each grade have offered their thoughts on the transition and given advice on how to cope with the switch.
For Webb students, moving up to a new grade may be exciting, nerve-wracking, or even a mixture of both. Students in younger grades often do not know what to expect for the upcoming school year. It is already hard enough transitioning out of a summer mindset into a workload mindset, so having uncertainty for future classes only adds more stress.
Nnenna Ochuru (‘21) said, “Some things that upperclassmen told me was that the workload would be a huge jump from the underclassmen workload, and that especially balancing two advanced sciences may be difficult initially, but it will get better.”
Some seniors had a positive message to send to Webb’s students instead of creating a scary image of classes.
Cayden Lazier (‘20) said, “My biggest tip is to be yourself because underclassmen want to create an image that they are so cool. If you just be yourself, you will be more comfortable. Also, do your work and focus on the grind now so you can party later.”
These messages can help students feel more comfortable at Webb. However, many freshmen are struggling to adjust to the workload at Webb compared to their previous middle school due to the increase in homework. Some new students are trying to prevent stressful situations by ignoring the negative chatter about the classes they are taking.
Cynthia Pan (‘23) said, “When I work, I put away distractions, including my phone. I stick to curfew so I don’t get a work crew, and this really helps my sleep schedule.”
Students are susceptible to a back-to-school “shlump,” but some teachers are trying to adjust to the new school year as well. A few Webb teachers have some words of advice for how to get back into the swing of things.
Arielle Brosh, Humanities Department faculty, said, “Students can get excited for the new school year by going back-to-school shopping. Buying new binders, pens, and pencils is so zen and exciting. I also recommend doing self-care activities such as face masks and exercising. Finally, I recommend reading newspapers, and having a back-to-school jam to listen to while doing work. For other teachers, I recommend using Twitter to stay up-to-date on trends and current events.”
However, not all teachers have the same coping methods. Some do work earlier in the summer so the start of the school year is not as stressful.
Thomas Jurczak, Science Department faculty, said, “I like to start early and prepare for my courses in August and even early July. I work a lot over the summer so when school starts, I am ready to work. I also like to establish a bed-time routine and the time we get up. Sticking with this routine will help people get up much easier.”
For Webb students, moving up to a new grade may be exciting, nerve racking, or even a mixture of both. The transition can be difficult, so remember to plan ahead, ask for help, and take care of yourself. Everyone is struggling to get back into the swing of things, so never be afraid to talk to a teacher or another student to help find a routine that works for you. Once you find your rhythm with work, the school year will go by smoothly.
The first quarter has just ended and the 2019-2020 school year is in full swing. Returning to school every year requires an adjustment whether it is your first or last year at Webb. What were some experiences Webbies had throughout the beginning of this school year?
Davis Hastings (‘22), a new boarder, said, “ I’ve made a lot of good friends pretty easily… I’ve actually liked having some independence and kind of being able to make my own schedule. And, living on your own is another level of that… I can’t say that I’ve fallen asleep at 10:30 every single night. It’s a process, and it’ll take a while for me to kind of get used to [it], so that’s been a bit hard. Coming in, I was expecting a pretty heavy workload, so nothing is really that surprising. I think there are a lot more projects and the summatives we have kinda differ in terms of what they are. The projects and summatives at the same time too so it can be a challenge managing everything.”
Carol Kang (‘21), a returning border, said, “For the first two weeks, I kind of struggled a bit because the workload was really different from what I used to have freshman and sophomore year… I had some problems adjusting to the very fast-paced schedule….”
Regarding tips for returning students, she said, “Keep a regular sleeping schedule during the break so when you come back from the summer you will feel more energetic and you won’t feel knocked out just because you slept at three during the summer. Catch up with your friends during the summer so when you guys get back together you can maintain the relationship. Freshman year summer, I didn’t do anything academic, and when I came back I felt a lack of energy. Definitely know how to take care of yourself. Before this, I never lived on my own and freshman year I struggled with self-care; it has many aspects to it but the main idea is to eat well, sleep well, keep everything clean, and learn how to manage stress.”
Jasmine Wan (‘23), a new international border, said, “It’s my first boarding experience in [my life], and it’s quite nice to have a roommate and hang out with my friends… Having roommates and having a sense of community is cool…”
Regarding tips for new students, she said, “[Join] a sports team and do more club activities. In a sports team, you will really make friends and you really have [ great relationships] with them. I would say just find what you like to do and contribute to that… Learn how to manage your time on your own instead of relying on others, because you don’t have your parents or anyone to help you… Learn time management skills before you come to Webb… Just talk. Talk to people, they’re pretty nice. Just talk and make new friends. Actually, it’s okay if you don’t have a bunch of friends. It’s okay if you only have a few friends, but you have to find what you like to do and what you really love to do because here at Webb we have lots of opportunities for you to find what you like and then you have opportunities to do it.”
Luke Raus (‘20), a day student, said, “Once you’re a senior and a junior there’s really not a ramp-up period, you just start and it’s expected that you can immediately begin. As a junior, that hit me really hard, especially in Honors Pre-Calc because [Jim] Dahler’s curriculum is immediately like, ‘Alright first day here – start writing down definitions’ and you’re like, ‘what’s going on’… If you haven’t looked at a school thing at all, at least do a small amount of review before the school year starts and honestly just know that it’s coming. Go to stuff. Stay for dinner. As a freshman, sometimes I would leave before dinner and have dinner at home and I wish I didn’t. Go to dinner, meet boarders, meet other people, stay for evening stuff.”