By D.M.A ( a blog series for teens)

Going back to school after break is something most people dread. You have to get up early and your free time just goes out the window. It might not feel like the most fun thing in the world – the work load, the assignments and studying.  Especially when you might of spent the last few weeks playing video games, hanging out with friends and sleeping late.

 But there are some things that are good about going back to school after a break. You get to go back school after Christmas and last semester finals with a clean slate!  An opportunity to set a new goal for yourself or to get back on track.

 That’s what going back means to me- a new chance.

You had last semester to figure out what you did right and what you did wrong. I suggest starting with whatever class you didn’t do well in.  Maybe it is the class you got the lowest grade. Maybe it is the class you had missing assignments in. Maybe it is the class that was the least interesting to you.

 Take a look at what you did last semester that didn’t help you, what studying methods didn’t work and try something new.

 How was your note taking strategy? How did you organize your work and assignments? What was your strategy for learning the information in and out of class? Did you feel distracted when studying or while in class? Find your weak area and try something different this semester.

 If you decide that being distracted was the issue, try to remove distractions around you and actually commit yourself to what you have to do. Maybe you change your seat in class so you don’t sit by your friends to you have better focus. Maybe you make sure you have paper and pencils ready to go. Maybe you make sure you have done the assignments before you come to class so you can get more out of your time in class.

Maybe homework was your biggest problem. Try setting aside a few minutes every day where you commit to do nothing but homework. Give that time your entire focus. Think of ways to help you stay focused- color coding text or/and sticky notes -find something that works for you. Read it out loud to yourself .. Make it a game if your competitive.  Remove distractions. Turn off your phone, the TV, other electronics. Play to your strengths. Listening to music may be a distraction to some but to others it helps enhance focus. But whatever will help, be sure to put aside a good chunk of time to do what you need to do. You can also look at where you do your homework. What environment do you work best in? Working in a classroom like environment may work for some but for others, a homier environment might be a better choice.

One key though is to commit to the time each day to get your work done.

The next step might seem obvious but once you have come up with a new game plan for this semester of what worked in the past and what you think will improve your performance now, then do it! Commit to the new game plan.

Last semesters failure was a learning opportunity. Use it in a productive way. Redo things when you can, pay attention to your mistakes and find what works. Here’s to a great rest of the school year!