Transitioning back to school after a summer or holiday break is never easy, but the right supplies can make the change a smooth one. In addition to taking the right supplies, consider taking some time to clean out your locker and book bag so you have plenty of neat, organized space in which to stash your stuff.
Take some time in the weeks before school starts to take care of your emotional health. Consider, for example, how you'll deal with mean girls. Cultivating a calm, confident attitude may help you deter bullies. You may even want to take some time to practice your social skills. Try having a gathering for your friends and talking to old acquaintances to help build your social skills and establish your group.
Read your school supply and textbook list carefully. It might not be thrilling to think about all the work you'll be doing, but having the right supplies means you'll avoid getting in trouble and falling behind. Stock up on pens, pencils, binders and notebooks, and consider buying items in bright colors and cool designs to make schoolwork a bit more fun. If your school requires that you cover your textbooks, cover them as soon as you get them, and make sure the covers are durable. Eye-catching textbook covers can help you express your personality and make it easier to differentiate your books from someone else's.
Create an emergency kit to keep in your locker. Feminine hygiene products such as tampons are must-haves, and consider adding portable stain removers in case you spill something on your clothes. Deodorant, Band-Aids and baby wipes can help you deal with most emergencies. Stash a few snacks in your locker. From navigating the politics of friendship to running in gym class, school can be exhausting. A few protein bars and some bottled water can help you stay energized.
Streamline your morning routine by making it possible to get ready at school or touch up your appearance during the day. If you wear make-up, stash a few extras -- such as concealer and lip balm -- in your locker in case you need to make a quick fix. If you're regularly pressed for time, try keeping the supplies you need to get ready for school in your locker -- a change of clothes, makeup and even a hair dryer. That way, if you're late to school, you can get ready in the bathroom.
Purchase a few extra locker shelves so you can keep your locker neat an organized. A locker mirror can help you always look your best, and magnets make it easy for you to affix important notes and reminders to your locker door. If your school doesn't offer locks, purchase your own lock to keep your gear safe. Keep a few dollars in spare change in your locker in case you run out of lunch money or need to get something out of the vending machines.
Devise a weekly and daily schedule, and consider investing in a planner. You can customize and decorate paper planners, and a wide variety of cell-phone apps offer planners -- some designed for teen girls. Basic time-management skills can help you find time for fun activities as well as for school work. Try testing out a few schedules in the first weeks of school to see what works.
Prepare for the worst by finding ways to take care of yourself throughout the school day. A fight with a significant other, friend or teacher can make school painful, so remember to take time for yourself. Schedule regular breaks into your day, and consider taking sources of comfort to school. You might, for example, hang a photo of your beloved grandmother in your locker or stash a cherished note from a friend in your binder.
- Keep forbidden items out of your locker. Your school can search lockers without your permission, and if a teacher finds a forbidden item, you can land in serious trouble.
- At some schools, even over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen are forbidden. If you struggle with cramps, check your school's policy. You might need a note, and you could have to check your medication in at the nurse's office.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.