Dec. 29, 2021

Annual Student Interviews - Advice for Current Students

By Ms. PJ Nuzman

Here we go again. Each year I ask everyone I run into the same question, “What advice do you have for my students?” I ask our current students, I ask college students, I ask people who aren’t even in school. Anyone I can think of and reach out to, I ask. This time around. there were two common answers:

  • Do the hard stuff first
  • Use your breaks

For me, both of these answers boil down to stress management strategies. 

I still say try to get one easy win each morning before tackling your hardest task. I say that because it works for me, to keep me motivated. I know that way, at the end of the day, I can say at least I did ____, and not feel like I wasted time struggling all day. I think the point here is to find what works for you, it is not one size fits all! Maybe your parents aren’t around to help until later in the evening and that is the best time for you to work on your most difficult task. That is part of the beauty of independent study, you get to choose. 

Now to breaks. There are many types of breaks. Short breaks at frequent intervals are super important for your brain and body. It gives your brain processing and relaxation time. It gives your body a chance to get fresh blood and oxygen. Then there are longer breaks at regular intervals that are just as important. Take time away from screens (hopefully around greenery or a body of water), eat nutritious food for your brain and body to use as energy to get you through the day. Finally, there are big breaks, like weekends or holidays. Some of you need this time to work on overdue assignments. Others need this time to spend outside of school. Again, the beauty is, you get to choose. 

One other piece of advice stuck out, it had to do with positive reinforcement and motivation. For some of us, those breaks and getting things done is the reward. But for others, we need more. Find what that is for you! Maybe for you, a couple hours of work equals a few minutes of cuddle time with your dog. OR finishing your weekly tasks equals a stress free fun weekend. Some of us need a sticker board to keep a visual reminder of accomplishments. Whatever you need to keep you going :) Figure it out and try to get your team on board. Tell your friends, family, and homeroom teacher. They can help you stay accountable and possibly contribute to your success.