Starting A New School Year – Ready…Set…

It’s the start of a new school year. I was part of freshman day at my high school where all of the wide-eyed 9th graders are coming to their first day of high school. Some are cautious and scared to death. Some are excited and ready to flourish. For some, starting a new school and a new school year is stimulating, for others it’s overwhelming.

If I could give advice to the gifted students starting at a new school or starting a new school year, it would include these three recommendations.

Don’t try to be the best at everything. Choose one or two areas that you really want to focus on and give those your personal best. Do well in the other areas but don’t seek perfection and don’t feel you have to compete to be the top person in all areas of school. That’s simply not realistic.

Don’t let stress dominate your life. Find a balance of social and academic pursuits. The highlights and memories that you will take away from school are not the tests and grades but the people, connections and activities – the social aspect.

Don’t sit on the sidelines – get involved. Find at least one non-required activity that interests you. You can be involved by either participating or spectating. Even if you’re not going to put yourself out there to join or try out for theater, band, sports, clubs, etc., you can show up to see the events, activities and support those who did join.  Go to games, attend plays, show spirit and wear your school colors, go to assemblies, go to dances.

A teacher said to the freshmen on the first day of school this year:
There are three types of kids. Kids who join, show up and engage in what school has to offer. They’re the doers.
Kids who come to the events to watch and be a part of supporting or cheering on those who are participating. They’re involved, too, and help make the school strong.
Kids who stand around seemingly lost, wondering “what’s going on”? They’ll eventually feel that school passed them by. Things were happening all around them and they didn’t step in. 

I agree! Choose a few select activities that interest you, don’t try to do it all, and join in as a participant or spectator. The school year will be much more rewarding for you if you do!

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