Your School Questions Answered - Back To School 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

School is right around the corner, and with that comes a lot of anxious children and teenagers unsure what to expect from the upcoming year. Since I'm going into my fifth and final year of secondary school in September, I have quite a lot of experience and know how to easily solve your school related problems. I thought I would use this knowledge to answer some of the most common questions and worries that people have before going back to school, from getting lost to making new friends.

I've got some really important tests this year, but I have no idea how to revise, what should I do?
Revising is different for everyone, so I'd recommend exploring some different techniques to see what works for you. Personally, I like to type up all of my revision notes and reaffirm this knowledge by making flashcards and testing myself. Other techniques that I find useful are making posters, doing past papers, listening to podcasts, watching videos and working with friends. Make sure that you have a designated time and space to revise, allowing yourself to be mentally prepared, and have frequent breaks to keep your mind alert. I wrote a whole post about my Effective Revision Tips which you may find helpful.

What happens if I get lost in my new school?
This was one of my worries when I started secondary school, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad since we were given a map to use for the first few weeks and I stuck with my friends at all times. Needless to say, I still managed to get lost a few times, but there was always plenty of teachers and older pupils to guide me around the school. If you arrive late to a lesson after getting lost, apologise to the teacher and tell them that you're struggling to find your way. They will likely understand why you're late and realise that it's hard to adjust quickly, so they might not get mad at you.

I want to take part in extra-curricular activities, but I'm afraid I won't have enough time for schoolwork?
I've definitely been in this position before, and my advice is to never overload yourself with too many commitments and activities. Very recently, I took on more things than I could manage, resulting in my entire July being a series of events, activities and trips, with little time left for studying. Luckily, it was at the end of the year so school was winding down a bit, but this could've been drastic had I received a lot of homework. My advice would be to try out an activity or a club and if it becomes too much to manage then stop. Although it's good to broaden your horizons and try new things, your school work should be a priority. If you're unsure what to do, talk to a family member and get their opinion on whether you should take part in more extra-curricular activities or not.

How can I get all of my school textbooks and revision guides without having to spend a lot of money?
When you're studying for your GCSE's, buying a variety of textbooks for over 10 different subjects can cost a lot of money, so it's always good to find cheaper alternatives. The first place you should check is your school, as they might be selling the required textbook at a discounted price, or even let you have it for free. I'm lucky that I don't have to purchase any textbooks and only worry about getting the right revision guides, but make sure you check with your teachers what you need. It's also worth checking the library, but remember that other students might want to use them as well, so taking lots of the library's textbooks home might be a bit selfish. I'd definitely suggest searching Amazon for any books that you need, as you can often find second-hand ones that are a lot cheaper but look brand new.

How do I make friends in my new school without sounding awkward?
Making friends can be a really difficult thing to do, but the best approach is to be honest and have confidence in yourself. When meeting a new person, start by introducing yourself or maybe asking a simple question like if they want to sit next to you in class. Get to know them by asking basic questions; if you run out of ideas try to find things you have in common, like a singer you both like, a TV show you watch or a holiday destination you've visited. Try to get to know as many people as possible when you start school, as this will make it easier to find and fit in with a friendship group.

What should I do if I don't understand the topic we're covering in class?
If you approach your teacher and explain what you're struggling with, it's likely that they'll find a way to help you. They might be able to arrange for you to do some extra work during lunch or could provide you with some helpful worksheets and resources. If your teacher is unable to help, consult your revision guides and the Internet for assistance, as it's likely that there will be answers somewhere. If you still don't understand a topic, ask your friends, as they might be able to easily explain it to you, or might've grasped different knowledge from the lesson.

I'm unhappy with my friendship group, but everyone else already has close friends. What should I do?
If you're a few years into secondary school, it might seem like everyone already has close friendship groups that you can't join. This usually isn't the case, so keep your mind open and make an effort to talk to new people. Start by sitting with some different people in your class and engaging in simple conversations, such as the work that you're doing or what you did last weekend. It might also help to join clubs and activities, as this will help you meet people with similar interests and hobbies. If you're really unhappy in your friendship group and think that it might be down to an issue such as bullying, talk to a responsible adult immediately.

I hope that my advice has been helpful and that you're now less nervous about going back to school. If you have any other questions or need advice, feel free to let me know and I'll try my best to answer you. Thank you for reading and I'll see you on Sunday with my new post.

Love from Daisy x

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