How to survive the new school year

Tips for students to get the most out of their education and still have fun.

There are two types of people: those who look forward to going back to school and those who dread it.

If you’re one of the latter, working out a new homework routine and trying to fit in sport, socialising and a part-time job can seem overwhelming.

We asked author, podcaster and advocate for teens Rebecca Sparrow for tips on how to start the school year right.

How can I make school enjoyable?

For MOST kids (not all) whether or not you enjoy school isn't based on luck.

It so often comes down to the choices you make. Those choices – like who you choose to hang around and whether or not you get involved in ‘drama cyclones’ – are going to dictate your school experience. 

Choose friends who bring out your best and who like you for who you are.  Avoid getting caught up in unnecessary drama at school.  Allow yourself to be 'seen' at school and to feel a part of the school community.

Do I actually need to study?

Unless you're a child genius the answer is most likely going to be yes, you have to study.

So the question to ask isn't, 'Do I need to study?’ but, 'How should I study?'  After all, if you're going to spend time studying you want to make it count.  

One of the best study skills experts in Australia is a woman called Dr Prue Salter whose website offers a huge number of free tips and strategies for students on how to study effectively including how to cram effectively the night before an exam.

How do I fit in homework, sport, study, work and having a social life?

One of the things that can make all of us feel overwhelmed is a lack of time management.

It's that feeling of ‘too many things to remember and do’ and no real plan of how you can get them all done.  

Having a weekly timetable for study that also reminds you what's coming up is a great way to feel more in control of your week.  

Being organised with your sports gear or band instrument the night before you need it and knowing when homework or assignments are due (and getting them started in plenty of time) is going to help reduce those feelings of stress.  

School can be hard enough - don't make it worse by making it more stressful than it needs to be. By creating a timetable and getting organised, you'll be saving yourself lots of angst.

What do I do if I’m feeling overwhelmed with school or other aspects of life?

Always reach out for help – you're not alone and thousands of teenagers will be feeling the same way.

Talk to your parents, a favourite teacher or head to ReachOut, which is Australia's largest online mental health website for young people. It's full of tips and advice for teenagers dealing with the stress of school or family life. 

The most important thing to do is to talk to someone about it and to realise you're not alone and help is available.