BY the time this month comes to a close and September will roll around, everyone would have moved forward a year in their academic lives. Though some students might even have started off their next class in April.

New class means new friends, new teachers and new beginnings. So if you didn’t do as well as you should have done last year, don’t worry. Here is your chance to make up.

The most important thing is to set your priorities. Once you’ve recognised what’s more important than the rest, you can act accordingly. Students should definitely give their studies top priority. Now it doesn’t follow that you should spend the entire school’s session buried amidst a mountain of books.

No, it simply means that you should ensure you do your homework daily, submit assignments on time and devote at least an hour every day to some extra studying. In that extra hour, you could catch up on the stuff you messed up last year. Maybe word problems in math or tenses in English. Whatever it is, make sure you make up for your slight lack of attention in the previous class.

Take help from a teacher or sibling, asking them to explain the particulars of the topic to you. They would be more than willing to help. You can then solve the exercises provided in your book. If you get stuck somewhere, take your problem to your teacher.

An extra hour, by the way, might sound too much. But, trust me, it would be nothing compared to the many hours of hectic studying you’d have to do when the exam season would approach. Time flies. All too soon, you’ll be facing your mid-terms. It’s better to do some studying in advance so you can maximise your performance in your exams. An hour shouldn’t be too big a problem.

The next thing to do is to solemnly promise yourself not to misbehave with your teachers. I know sometimes teachers can be unfair. And, yes, some of them aren’t very good at delivering the knowledge they have. But they’re still your teachers, and so deserve all your respect.

If you get labelled as a goody-goody person, tell yourself it’s fine because, the truth is, it is. There is no shame in being nice towards teachers and everyone who thinks otherwise just thinks silly.

So be courteous, yet honest. If you don’t understand what your teacher is going on about, raise your hand and question him/her politely. There’s no need to be aggressive. I’ve seen teachers turning cold towards students simply because the students did not use the right tone of voice when addressing the teacher.

And maintaining a good reputation with teachers is essential. Not because you want them to favour you, rather so they will take you and your queries seriously, because if you lose grounds with a teacher, he/she is sure to ignore you in class. Or even openly scold you in front of everyone.

The thing is, teachers can easily take offence too. If you’re rude to someone in a class or a teacher, I think they are quite justified in harbouring a grudge against you. It doesn’t mean teachers are always like that, but as far as general observations go, I think you would be in the wrong. Teachers have every right to be as angry as your parents get if you talk to them disrespectfully. And, though all teachers are not necessarily the same, there are some who find it hard to forgive open shows of insolence by students who do it merely to appear cool and hip.

Oh, and get this, this doesn’t make you look cool — quite the opposite, in fact. So, this year, be on your guard and behave well.

Let’s tackle the most pressing issue now — your friends. Of course your friends’ circle would mostly involve the same friends it had last year, but there might be some additions and eliminations. To stress on the merits of good company is not required because I’m sure we all know what a vital role friends play in our lives, and if we choose our friends wisely, half of our problems would get solved automatically.

This might sound nerdy, but be on a lookout for those who excel at studies and extracurricular activities. These people will firstly influence you to act like them because peer pressure is a natural thing. Secondly, they will be able to help you out wherever you might want some assistance. And don’t think you will just turn into a big nerd if you hang out with such students. Because you won’t.

Think of it this way, these people outshine others at studies — they know time-management well and they’re clever. They outclass others at stuff like debate, speech, essay competitions, etc. — they are confident, eloquent and smart. These are appealing traits. So why not try acquiring them? It will make your grades better and make you participate more in the school’s activities. This year, be in the school’s limelight and soak up the fame.

In the end, remember that you can’t make the whole year perfect. There will be ups and downs, easy ways and rough corners, simple chapters and challenging ones. There will be hurdles and obstacles, and there will be times when you will be entirely on your own. That’s when you have to prove your strength by remaining steadfast and determined. Face the troubles bravely and fight back stubbornly. Although not perfect, your new academic year will be a happier and more successful one. Good luck!


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