By Tori Macchi, LiveGirl High School Mentor
For us girls, school can be a stressful time- especially those first few days. The years surrounding middle school to high school are the years in which we begin to figure ourselves out. We want to hold a strong first impression when we first arrive, especially as incoming freshmen when you are starting school in a new place with new people. As this summer comes to an end, and we find ourselves hoping for just a little more time, the unfortunate truth is that school is arriving quicker than we know. However, does it really have to be so unfortunate? Of course not! I, myself, am starting at a new school this year for my junior year of high school and am surely facing the same anxiety and stress most girls do in the week leading up to the first day. Luckily, I have a few tips on how to face the school year head on and approach it with confidence and readiness, despite all the stress. Get ready to be at the top of your game this year, and make it the best one yet!
TIP 1- ORGANIZE
A clear mind and a set schedule will have you ready to take on the school year. When our minds are cluttered, we seem scattered and all over the place, which takes a huge toll on our back to school confidence and readiness! I advise everyone- especially incoming freshmen adjusting to a new school- to keep your schedule on you at all times. Print it out and tape it in a folder, notebook, or agenda, or keep it up inside your locker. Also, take advantage of the agendas given to you at school. When the teacher tells you to write down an assignment, a test date, etc.- DO IT! It will help you immensely. If your school doesn’t offer agenda books, investing in a planner or even a simple notebook does the same job. Finally, focus on time management. I know, I know. You would much rather binge a new series and do that thing later, but procrastination will be your worst enemy. When you get home from school, take 30 mins to 1 hour to settle down and have some free time, and then get to work. Take breaks in between, but try not to get off track. We all need a good mental health break to sit back and recharge, Also, don’t be afraid to use those study halls, but don’t think of them as ways to get out of doing your 2 hours worth of homework at home. Chances are your class periods won’t give you enough time to finish all that work, but study halls are great for smaller assignments, getting some reading in, and of course studying. Speaking of which, if you have a big test coming up, don’t wait last minute to study! I have made that mistake one too many times, and while the grade I received may have been okay, I know if I took some extra time I could have really aced that test. An all nighter may let you get a decent amount of studying in, but you’ll be exhausted and way too tired to ace that test regardless. Studying in advance allows the material to stick with you, and you won’t have to be solely reliant on caffeine to keep you awake during the big test day. Stay on top of your tasks, and straight A’s will be coming your way!
TIP 2- FOCUS ON YOURSELF/YOUR EDUCATION
I have been consistent with the reminder that I attend school to better my education and go further in life. For me, this is especially important this year as I am beginning in a place I have never been and where I know nobody, so I can strongly relate to you incoming freshmen or anyone starting a new school. I find myself thinking, “What if nobody likes me?”, “What if I can’t find true friends, and end up alone?” and even “What if I completely change and don’t recognize my true self anymore?”. Those negative thoughts don’t provide any good- but they do make me realize that at the end of the day, I would be at peace with only having myself. After all, I don’t go to school to please others; I go to school to become smarter and work harder! When you realize that you go to school for yourself and for your academics, you become untouchable. Others opinions become even more invalid than they ever were. It is a difficult thing to truly realize as we may feel pressure to conform to the critiques and/or expectations of peers, but when we do that we lose our independence and the ability to be our own person. Something more difficult than losing a friend is losing yourself. My advice? Block out all the negativity and keep the focus on bettering yourself. People who are mean are most often going through difficulties of their own and tear people down to make themselves feel better. Keep your head up- block them out, focus on yourself, and don’t feed into their unkind words- you will see the difference in how unbothered and confident you will become.
TIP 3- FIND YOUR PASSION
School is the perfect time to find your “thing” and pursue it. Find the thing that makes you feel alive, the thing that gives you purpose, and just do it! Whether it be your education, music, art, theater, etc… You will be overcome with confidence, rest assured, when you do the thing that fills your heart with passion. Take the time to figure yourself out and when you do, put it out there. Do you like making people laugh? Do you like providing advice and making people feel good about themselves? Do you like helping others? Whatever you like- DO IT, and do it proudly. Every action you make this year should be done in the effort of making yourself proud and being the best, most confident version of you. Feel good about yourself, and the things you are passionate about. Doing the things that make you feel good is the easiest way to find happiness and confidence. Focusing on those things that are important to your happiness, as opposed to focusing on others expectations of who they want you to be is the key to remaining confident. Don’t be afraid to share your true self to the world (or maybe just your school!), and always do it with pride. When you are confident in the things you do, and the character you hold, nothing that anybody says can affect or hurt you.
TIP 4- TAKE RISKS
While you should pursue your interest and put it out there, don’t put yourself in a box and limit yourself to trying new things. Taking risks and trying out new things will allow you to meet new friends you wouldn’t have been likely to meet otherwise, dig deeper within yourself to attain more levels of confidence, and will all together make your experience at school more enjoyable! Putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to take risks is the ultimate step to achieve confidence as you are proving to yourself that you can do something you never thought of- and maybe even find that you’re extraordinary at it! This could be a new club, elective, a sport… it could even be raising your hand to answer a question in class when you’re often quiet. You may find that the things you never imagined yourself doing will become some of your favorite pastimes, all because you were confident that you could try something new. For example, don’t think because you’re an athlete you can’t be into theater or the arts, or vice versa. I mean, if Troy Bolton could do it in High School Musical, you can too, girls! Limiting yourself to new things may cause you to miss out on what could have been a great new talent. Give the quote “She believed she could, so she did,” some special meaning to yourself this year. In the long run, it doesn’t matter if you end up being great, or if you end up not liking whatever it is you tried- what matters is that you refused to be limited to one thing and took a risk!
TIP 5- MORNING ROUTINE
As silly as it sounds, something as simple as how you get ready for school can affect your confidence in big ways. I like starting my day with music, and truly view it as a great confidence booster! Playing upbeat and happy tunes as I get ready to start my day puts me in the best mood, and when I am in a good mood I feel prepared to take on the day. Also, girls, I know we all hate to hear how other people think we should dress or how we should be expected to present ourselves. But I mean it when I say that what we wear will truly affect our confidence levels! With that in mind, wear what you WANT- what you feel will make you happy and confident- regardless of others opinions. Whether you’re a girl who loves skirts and dresses, sweats and leggings, or just a pair of jeans, wear the clothes that make you feel confident every time you look in the mirror. Whatever your style may be- embrace it. You will feel your confidence boost up 100%!
TIP 6- DON’T COMPARE
We often look at other girls and think to ourselves “I wish I looked like her”, “I wish I could be like her”, “I wish I could have what she has” and fill our minds with a million “I wish” statements regarding another girl, even subconsciously at times. Let me remind you that “Comparison is the thief of joy”. The second you find your mind flooding with those “I wish” statements, you are wishing to be someone that is not you! How can you be confident and happy with yourself when you are wishing to be someone else? There is only one you- that is your superpower. No other girl in the entire world thinks like you do, dreams like you do… no other girl in the world is YOU! Own yourself. Own who you are. Refrain from comparing yourself to others and who they are or what they have- accept who you are and realize that is enough!
TIP 7- IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED!
Lastly, remember that school is a scary time for everyone. If you’re nervous, don’t feel like you have to hide it! Being nervous does not take away your confidence in any way- in fact, you having the bravery to show up to school despite being nervous puts that confidence on display! Besides, chances are that you aren’t alone with those first day jitters. Even the people who seem so brave are most likely scared on the inside. Vocalize your fears and you’ll see how many people are in the same boat as you. Being able to relate with people about anything- even being scared- can cause the start of new, beautiful friendships. Plus, you both understand what you’re each going through, and that can make the journey of school the least stressful it can be!
School doesn’t have to be the series of unfortunate events we make it out to be. When you hold your head up high and take on each and every day, ready for whatever may come your way, nothing can stop you from possessing the confidence you deserve. This year, I challenge you all to be leaders. Wear your confidence on your shoulder and show the other girls it’s okay to be your true, unique self. When you look further within your own self and find who you really are, show it to the world and your confidence will illuminate everything around you! Best of luck to every girl this 2018/2019 school year- take it on with confidence!