Is your first day of school coming up? Are you wondering what your new teacher is going to be like? What pair of nikes you are going to use to sway new friends? What parties and exams are you going to skip or make a priority? What sport teams are you going to watch or try out for? How close is the nearest grocery store, and can I make it in my slippers?
It is about that time of the year again, back to school! For me, that means new kids, new parents, and new desire to inspire young minds to believe in themselves and be nice to one another. The summer is gone, and it is back to the grind in the classroom for many of us around the world.
Let’s talk about September
What are the main concerns of an elementary student? 1. Is my teacher going to be nice 2. What do I have for recess? When I was little, every year I would wonder if my teacher was going to be nice, or if I had to watch out for the Big Bad Wolf, or did mom pack my Dunkaroos, or will I have to trade my sandwich with another classmate. As we get older, these thoughts continue to run through our heads, only in slightly different context. 1. Will I meet new friends or like my boss/or professor 2. I should have ate breakfast today/I need to pack a lunch.
September is crucial to your survival in your new setting. The first month will separate the men from the boys. The women from the girls. Your idea and perception of your new setting and experience will be fresh. Your ears will be alert and your mind and body will be focused on the task at hand. But for how long? Some of us will be entering a new school. Some of us will be going back to a similar setting after the summer holidays. Either way, September is the start of the “new” year. How do you have a great start?
The First Impression is Key
Don’t show up to school in hammy down’s aka hand me down’s. I am not saying go out and buy the most expensive pair of shoes or t-shirt, I am saying take care of your self and look presentable. Carol Goman writes, “that moment that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes thousands of computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are your trustworthy, competent, likeable, confident?
The decision of others and whether or not they will like or even deal with you are made quickly (7 seconds). Leave a great impression and you are well on your way to an excellent week during the first month of school. Say hello to your collages. Shake the hand of your professor or teacher. Really mean what you say when talking to new people. Do the little things that count. Put in the work early and everything else is smooth sailing!
Being a teacher, I understand what it feels like to be exhausted from smiling and shaking hands with people you typically have nothing in common with or have know desire to be long-time friends with (sounds cruel but it is true). You can’t be best friends with everyone BUT you can be a great acquaintance. People can love to be around you even though they never see you. Just keep smiling, just keep smiling, just keep smiling, smiling, smiling. Know one said you had to be everyone’s bestie on the first day. Smile, be polite and shake hands with everyone (use sanitizer often). This again, goes with your first impression. People will always remember your first encounter. This will set you up for easier interactions down the road.
Stay ahead of the Game
In my first year of university (for lack of better word) I sucked! I flat-out didn’t know what was doing, decided to watch sports instead of study, went for walks instead of reading and ate cereal to distract me from assignments. To often we allow ourselves to fall behind. We overlook what is ahead of us, and hope that it will magically complete itself the night before
Surviving September is about Staying a head of the Game. Sure, your friends will want to party. Your boyfriend will want to cuddle. Your friends will want to hangout and chat it up, talk about stuff you necessarily do not want to talk about anyway. Than don’t do it! When you are given an assignment, start it. You don’t have to finish it, but at least look and see what you have to do to complete it. A lesson plan, prepare for the week. Heck, prepare for the month if you have the time. A project to fulfill, do the research. Get the resources and be ready to produce some quality work.
Make a list of priorities and “at least”get started before the week that they are due. We all know what it feels like when Wednesday comes along, and you have a 4000 word essay due on Auscultation and Bromhidrosis by Thursday. Yeah, I don’t know what they mean either.
Don’t allow yourself to get in this position. Force yourself to make a list of up and coming due dates, and get started right away. The best feeling in the world is knowing that you are done something, when everyone else is scratching to make a deadline.
For me, I make a monthly schedule, of what I want to accomplish, by priority. I take 15-20 index cards, put a hole in each one of them, and tie a string to hold them tight. I often check my dates and make sure I am on schedule. I see priority and needs and attack those ideas first. Life is a party, you will always have time for that. Friends will understand if they are true friends. Everyone else doesn’t matter.
September is the start of a new year. It is not quite, champagne and balloons yet, but it represents a new beginning. Every September students and professionals go back to the grind. Don’t be that person who, talks about doing things and never get’s it done. We all talk about this person and often fall in the same category at times. Put your words into action and do what it takes to be a head. What are you going to do to make this “new”year better than any other year?
As years go by, you will slowly understand the preparation, both mentally and physically to start fresh, and get off to a good start. The only people I know that can start poorly and still win are Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali. I guess and a few others. Once you get on their laugh, you’ll have nothing to worry about 😉
Start the grind early!
In the mean time, continue to #BeAwesome