How to Deal With School

Three Parts:Succeeding as a StudentCoping with StressMaintaining a Support System

Education is a fundamental part of growing up but can also be difficult to deal with. Homework, the pressure to succeed, and social pressures are just some of the many challenges one has to face in school. Everyone has difficult days but if you prepare properly and take care of yourself, it is possible to deal with school and maybe even enjoy it!

Part 1
Succeeding as a Student

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    Manage your time wisely. School is a great place to improve your time management skills, which will later be fundamental to your career and personal life. Once you learn to budget your time well, you will find that homework and other demands are more manageable and you will even have more free time to pursue your own interests.
    • Get a planner and write down assignment due dates and important events.
    • Try to have a set schedule, such as planning ahead to do homework in the evenings and other activities at the same time throughout the week. Sticking to a schedule will help you feel like you have your life under control.
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    Aim for good grades. Homework and grades are undeniably two of the biggest school-caused stressors [1] so doing your best to succeed in these two areas will make your life that much easier.
    • Stick to a consistent schedule of doing homework in the same place every day. Prepare a space that is free of distractions so that you can concentrate and complete your work quickly[2].
    • If you are struggling in a subject, get a tutor or ask a teacher for help outside of class.
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    Sleep regularly. You should aim for at least 7-8 hours each night and even more if you are a teenager[3]. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule since, when deprived of sleep, it makes it that much more difficult to focus and perform at your best in school.
    • If you have trouble falling asleep, limit your use of electronics such as computers and phones for an hour before your bedtime. You can also try a nightly relaxation ritual, such as a night time cup of non-caffeinated tea[4].
    • Don’t cram the night before. Studies have shown that cramming instead of sleeping is actually counterproductive. Sleep is so necessary for our bodies to function that if a student sacrifices sleep over studying, they are more likely to perform more poorly the next day[5].
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    Don’t over schedule yourself. While scheduling your days, make sure you also have downtime and aren’t stretching yourself too thin, otherwise you may experience burnout.
    • If using a planner to record assignments and other activities, be sure to block out times, such as on weekends, where you have no plans.
    • If you feel like you are constantly on the run, take some time to reflect on which activities you can cut out. For example, if you are struggling to juggle debate team, honors classes, and sports, you may want to consider dropping sports or whichever extracurricular activity is eating up too much of your time.

Part 2
Coping with Stress

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    Identify and confront your stress factors. Stress is an inevitable part of life, but school often comes with a unique set of stresses. Take some time to reflect on what challenges you face in school and then work to overcome them.
    • Make a list of what is stressing you out, such as bullying or not having enough time alone. Then brainstorm possible solutions. Even if you can’t solve all of your problems, sometimes just identifying and working to solve these issues can help decrease your overall level of stress.
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    Eat a healthy diet. As tempting as processed snacks and sugar may be, they can cause many health problems and even contribute to depression[6]. Eating lots of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you feel better and keep a clear head[7].
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    Take care of your mental health. Poor psychological health has long been known to affect school performance and the ability to learn[8]. Meditation and other relaxation techniques, along with aiming for a positive outlook in life, will help you deal with the stresses and challenges of school.
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    Exercise. Exercise has countless mental, physical and psychological benefits and has been proven to make people happier and more able to deal with stress[9]. Experiment with different forms such as running, dance, soccer, or yoga until you find something you enjoy and look forward to doing on a regular basis.
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    Schedule time for your own interests. Extracurricular activities, such as school clubs, sports, or other personal interests, can help keep stress levels down and develop character.
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    Treat yourself. Making fun plans for weekends, evenings, and school vacations will mean that you always have something to look forward to, no matter how stressful things at school get.

Part 3
Maintaining a Support System

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    Look to others for support. Family members, teachers, guidance counselors and even students can all be there for you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
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    Don’t cave to peer pressure. Peer pressure happens when other people pressure you to do or say certain things in order to fit in. While it’s natural to want to be accepted by others, peer pressure can become a big source of stress when other students pressure you to engage in activities that go against your own beliefs, such as breaking the law or cheating.
    • If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, learn to say no and walk away. It may be hard but you will find that sticking up for yourself gets easier over time[10].
    • Seek out a peer group that is open and nonjudgmental.
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    Minimize the harmful effects of bullying. Bullying (repeated aggressive behavior, including physical, verbal, or relational) is unfortunately all too common in schools but learning to effectively cope with and protect yourself is essential [11].
    • If you are being bullied, don’t blame yourself and try to maintain your inner self-confidence as much as possible. Stay resilient by remembering that bullies often hurt others because they themselves are hurting[12].
    • Get help. Though nobody wants to be a snitch, if you are worried for your safety, seek a trusted adult and let them know what is happening.
    • Don’t be a bully yourself. Always treat others with respect and kindness and you will find that, more often than not, those same behaviors will be reciprocated.
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    Maintain good relations with your teachers. Always be polite and try your best in your classes and you’ll find that most teachers will want to help you succeed.
    • If you have any teachers that you feel especially comfortable with or look up to, don’t be afraid to let them know. Having just one teacher as an ally can help you when you are struggling socially or academically.
    • Don’t be a teacher’s pet. Don’t go out of your way to try to impress teachers or you may just end up alienating yourself.
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    Make friends. Having even just one or two good friends who share your values and interests can make all the difference in getting through a school day. Put yourself out there and join clubs or take up a new hobby to meet new people.


  • If you think you may be struggling with a disorder that interferes with your ability to perform well in school (such as anxiety, ADHD, or depression) seek help! Go to a trusted family member or teacher and let them know so that you can get the support you need to succeed.
  • Remember that school is only one part of your life and it will not last forever. Try to maintain a big picture view of your life and bear in mind that, no matter how difficult school gets, you will move on and be fully responsible for your life so start thinking about the future and what you want to do!

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