The year 2021 has been nothing but stressful for many pupils. It has also left a bitter taste on how cool school can be. See how you can start your academic year on a high note.. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)
The year 2021 has been nothing but stressful for many pupils. It has also left a bitter taste on how cool school can be. See how you can start your academic year on a high note.. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

7 tips for starting your 2021 academic year on a positive note

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Mar 12, 2021

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Following a year of disruptions which have led to anxiety and a dip in self-confidence in many, it is no wonder that many pupils are uncertain of the 2021 academic year.

George Eadie, chief executive of The Answer Series (TAS), an organisation that helps pupils with study guides, said that with the first term nearing an end, pupils need to stay flexible in their outlook.

“It’s more important than ever to start your school year on a confident note, and although confidence doesn’t come easy to everyone, these seven tips from the TAS team should help learners start the school year feeling more optimistic and hopeful, in control and ready to take on any unexpected outcomes,” said Eadie.

1. Feel positive, think positive, act positive, be positive

Set an intention for 2021 to be the year you adopt a positive mindset – or at least work on being mindful about any negative thoughts that if left unmonitored, can start shaping how you feel and even who you think you are.

2. Be prepared for 2021

You cannot control how the academic year will take shape, but you can control how you behave, react and take responsibility for your learning. Have regular contact with your teachers and classmates about academic material and use study guides that are proven and trusted, like The Answer Series.

3. There’s nothing like a good friend

Lean on your friends for support and schedule time to check in with them. Be a good friend by being real, honest, kind and dependable, and don’t be shy to ask your friends for help if you feel anxious. Watch out for the warning signs of early depression and anxiety in your friends too, and act with care and compassion if you notice they are struggling.

4. Forget about mistakes made in the past

Everyone makes mistakes in life – it’s only human. Remember that you will not be able to please everyone. Set high expectations for yourself and always do your best, but remember that half the road to success is failing and learning to bounce back from adversity. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Ask yourself if what you are stressing over will matter tomorrow, next week or a month from now. If the answer is “no” or even “maybe”, leave it behind you. If the answer is “yes”, set short-term and long-term milestones that are attainable and realistic to achieve within the time period you have set out for yourself.

6. Face your fears

It’s natural that the uncertainty of the year ahead might instil fear in you. Remember that to be afraid of something is a state of mind. Every time you confront a fear, you change that state of mind, and in the process you gain courage and confidence. Control what you can. Ask your teachers for a breakdown of the term’s work and create a weekly study timetable as if you were studying for exams, but adjust it to homework and day-to-day learning.

7. Dress for success

If you feel healthy and well kept, you will feel more confident and will in turn attract the same energy. Eat healthily, create an exercise routine – and make sure you stick to it – and put effort into how you look when you get ready for school.

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