Getting Back to School

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It’s that time of year again when youngsters are venturing on to the next grade. When starting a new chapter, be it in the same school or one in a different state or even a foreign country, there is an excitement in the air for parents, students, and educators. Remembering back to our youth when we were getting ready to start the new school year, there usually was a mix of emotions, but also a lot of preparation. Students sometimes have summer reading lists, parents have a list of items that need to be purchased, and teachers create lesson plans and prep their classrooms. A lot of work goes into the first day of school, yet somewhere along the way many of us have lost our excitement for the new endeavors and challenging events that will face us as we grow into career adults. We get used to the status quo, often feeling uncomfortable with change rather than excited. All too often, we look at learning something new as a chore rather than an experience, dread getting ready for presentations, or delay finishing the report that’s due tomorrow. So how can we change our mindset back to the excitement of yesteryears? By using the lessons learned before the school year starts.

Getting back to school

  • Do not wait to start everything at the last minute – Your kid comes running up to you two days before the start of the new school year in tears because they have less than forty-eight hours to read ten books and write a report on each.   The amount of anguish this can cause in the household can sometimes be unbearable, so why do we do the same to ourselves when we have a presentation or work assignment to complete? If we break things down into do-able chunks, say one book read and a report written a week, then the end of the summer will not be the sign of dooms day, but rather a relaxed transition to the finish line without the frantic dash in the last seconds.
  • Get the right tools to be successful – We set our children up well. Getting them the pens, pencils, crayons, glue, notebooks, and backpacks they need. They often receive a handy list of items they are required to complete during the school year. It’s the same with a career. You need the right tools at the right time to achieve success. If you do not know what you need to complete an assignment, do your research or ask someone. It is far better to know in advance what you will need than to get half-way through a project and realize you are missing a key component. Make your list first and then proceed with acquiring or completing objects on that list.
  • Think of a presentation as a session of “Show and Tell” – When we were younger, most of us loved showing our friends what we had and describing the object, sometimes in great detail, to one another. This is the same for presentations. You have an item to show and you are going to tell your colleagues and clients about it. The amount of enthusiasm and thoughtful description you put into your presentation translates directly into how much you can entice them to want to learn more, thus giving you even further opportunity to showcase your product or service.
  • Above all, take successes and failures in stride – Remember the first time you failed a test?  You may have thought to yourself that you would not pass math, English, social studies, or whichever subject you were struggling in, but here you are. You graduated that grade. You did not give up and neither did your instructors. If you have a project or presentation that did not make the mark, do not think “that’s it, I am not good at XYZ, why even try?” Instead, give it another go, but possibly take a different angle toward success. Accept and welcome the challenge!