New Year’s Resolutions
My favorite way to ring in the new year has always been watching the ball drop in Times Square. Even from the safety and warmth of my living room, I can feel the excitement as the last ten seconds are counted down and the screen explodes with confetti. I go to bed with the knowledge that the next day starts a clean slate—a new chapter.
So how can students take advantage of that clean slate and start the year as someone fresh and new? Here are some ideas:
In January, we’re half way through the school year. Habits, both good and bad, have emerged and students can often feel like they are stuck in their routine. The new year is a chance for patterns to be disrupted and old habits to be dropped. One activity students might try is called Continue, Stop, Initiate. On New Year’s Day, kids can sit down and think about where they are academically, personally, and emotionally. They can think about what they’re doing well, where they’re falling short, and how they can do better. Spending some time reflecting can be a great way to start the year off right.
Plans are all fine and good, but you can’t accomplish anything if your bookbag looks like a teeny, tiny tornado went through it. Over winter break, students should take some time to empty out their school bag. Grab the dust-buster and rid the bottom of all eraser shavings, shredded paper, and leftover granola-bar crumbs. Everything in their folders and binders that they’re carrying around can find a place on their bookshelves at home. Their future selves will thank them in May and June when they need their work from first semester to study for finals (not to mention their present selves who will be going to back to school with what looks like a brand new backpack)!
I’m all about SMART goals, and most schools are, too. SMART means:
- Relevant, and
Using this model of goal setting allows kids to move from “I want to do better in school,” to something tangible like “I want to get at least a 90 on every Chemistry Test during first quarter of second semester.” Working backwards from that, students can figure out what steps they need to take to achieve that goal. It probably means assessing how well they’re taking notes, how they’re studying for tests, and if they’re retaining information as they’re learning it. Taking the time to actually write out the goal is a great way for kids to be able to hold themselves accountable (instead of a teacher/parent/counselor trying to hold them accountable)
Try Something New!
The new year doesn’t have to be all about work; it can also give kids permission to try something they’ve always wanted to. It can be the time to commit to auditioning for the spring musical, or trying out for the baseball team, or teaching themselves the ukulele (just me?). The point is, a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have to be work, it can be a commitment to do something fun! Our juniors especially can get so stressed out with their school work load and their test prep and their high expectations for themselves. It’s important that they take time out of their week to do something they enjoy as well.
As always, Summit is here to help! We have tutors who will work with students on things like organization, study skills, and goal setting in our My Tutor Plus program. Summit can also match students with a tutor who has expertise in academic subjects, whether it’s for help studying for a test or ongoing support. You can learn more about My Tutor Plus here and our academic tutoring here.
We’re happy to assist you however we can!