The days leading up to New Year’s Day are often when we declare our New Year’s resolutions, but I think that these last days of summer deserve as much attention and merit reflection as a new school year is about to begin. Buying new school supplies and figuring out how to balance fall obligations with school, sports and extracurricular commitments are a part of back-to-school preparation. That said, one of the most essential steps students should take before the 1st day of school is much less defined and harder to schedule: developing an attitude and approach towards school that leads to success.
While some students may read this article and feel that their GPA, SAT/ACT scores and extracurricular achievements indicate they have already figured out what it takes to be successful, all of us have room for improvement. That said, improvement and growth cannot happen without recognizing our strengths and weaknesses and what has worked and what has failed us in the past. For example, if the manner in which you organized your time for studying led to cramming at the last minute, a new plan is needed. If you simply do what you did previously, you can expect nothing but the same results that were not successful in the past. Changing our behavior is not easy, and it takes both time and unwavering commitment in order to realize the goals that we may not have experienced in the past: grades that reflect a student’s potential, a leadership role awarded in recognition of a student’s talents, etc.
We need to embrace change, not fear it, in order to attain the success that we crave. While approaching life in a new way may at first feel uncomfortable or inconvenient, those sentiments will not linger long.
As the school year begins in the coming days, I encourage families to have honest discussions about what goals, and plans to achieve them, should be established so that students can enjoy the personal and academic success they deserve.