4 mindsets for a better school year

Exactly one year ago I started university, and it was a scary thing. School in general is a scary thing. So whether you're starting uni (wooo) or going to seventh grade, here are some tips from an almost adult human creature with enough experience of school to be giving advice.

All of these lessons I wish I had learned when I was younger, so I hope they will help you to become a better student and a happier human.

Especially number two would have saved me so much stress, exhaustion and tears.

1. Gratitude for learning

It took me a long time to understand that school was for me, not that I was for school. It was more like a burden, because I wasn't learning things I was interested in. I was only doing it for the teachers, for my parents, for some distant future I honestly couldn't see myself ever having and for the opinions of my classmates.

At some point before high school that shifted, though. I got accepted into a performing arts high school, and soon I realized that would change everything I'd thought about school.

No, it wasn't like high school musical (although there were many similarities), but it made school fun.

Find ways to do things at school that you enjoy and excel in. For me, it was music, theatre, fine art and film club. But I also learned to really love geography, biology and English, because every time I went into class I challenged myself to learn something new that could inspire my art and storytelling or enrich the storyworlds I create.

Put in a little more effort, be thankful for your teachers (sometimes that's really hard, I know) and try to find those gems of knowledge that you'll actually remember years from now. And do it for you, not for anybody else.

2. No clutter around you, no clutter inside you

This is something I never learned as a teen, but now pretty much swear by as an "adult". I can not get home after a long day at school and relax if I know there's a mess in my apartment. Just not going to happen.

As you start getting back into the daily (tiring) routine of going to school, going to hobbies, coming home, sleeping and repeating, your surroundings will start looking a little bit like the jumble up in your brainbox.

And the more jumble you have around you, the more your brain will get jumbled. You see my point? It won't ever end.

This new school year, make it a priority to keep your room organized and clean. Make an extra effort to place things where they belong, and that will take you far.

It feels amazing to come home to a place where you can walk across the floor and throw yourself on the bed without having to jump over stacks of books only to land in a pile of laundry.

3. A love for new experiences

Let go of fear and embrace uncertainty. Try new things not because they seem nice, but because they are intimidating. You can't grow if you stay in your comfort zone.

4. Smile and sit straight.

I spent all of my school years feeling lonely and awkward. I was the geeky weird artsy kid and always thought there was something wrong with me no matter where I went. But your quirks make you amazing.

It’s difficult to learn to love yourself, but you can start with a smile and good posture.

Don’t slouch to take as little space as possible. Know who you are and take pride in existing. You are here for a reason, and that reason is yours to fulfill. Do so with joy and confidence, no matter how sad or self conscious you feel.

There’s a spark inside you, and the easiest way to let it out is by expressing that spark with your body and outer appearance.

It’s a scientific fact that we feel happier when we start smiling, and that we feel more confident when we make a confident pose with our bodies. Fake it till you make it is a cliche for a reason. And I totally believe you can make it.

I wish you a very successful school year and hope you find many great adventures along the way!

Enjoy learning and don't take it all too seriously :)

Love, yo big sister Em.

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