Back to School, New Year New You

By Abby Tackett

I think that we can all agree that this summer went by way too fast. After a nice (and at times too hot) summer break, it can be very difficult to get your head back into the academic game. Students start every school year by saying it’s going to be the “best year yet”. Somewhere along the road after a couple dozen lectures and a test or two that excitement starts to fade. Don’t allow that to happen this year. A fresh new start on the year creates the opportunity for you to work and become a new you.

Don’t just assume a great year is going to fall into your hands. Work ALL year to make it happen. I can give you the “academic tips” of how to achieve this such as check in with your guidance counselors to make sure you are on track with your classes, put deadlines and reminders in your planner, set up a healthy study habit, get involved in extracurricular activities, etc. All of these are great tips that you should always practice and that’s why you will continue to hear about them in your meetings with your Upward Bound advisers. However, today I want to give you advice on how to make a fresh start and take advantage of this brand new year.

Have Guts. Be courageous, bold and take risks. Start by taking challenging classes and push yourself harder than you did last year. Jump at the chance when new opportunities arise. Participate in positive events, whether it’s academic or social, that will push your boundaries and comfort levels. Go above and beyond in school and in your personal life.

Have Resilience. Be tough, reflective and persistent. Accept help when you need it. Perhaps you are struggling in a class or have a personal problem that you can’t figure out how to solve. There is nothing wrong with asking and accepting help. Having assistance will help you figure out how to improve your weaknesses. Don’t give up and have perseverance academically and socially. See setbacks as learning experiences. Help others to stay focused by encouraging and supporting them. People are always watching you and they will follow your lead so if you stay positive and fight through the tough times, so will the people around you.

Have Integrity. Be honest, kind and open. Take responsibility for all work in your life in and outside of school. Accept responsibility for your actions and shortcomings. Be open to hear feedback from others and have a strong sense of self and resist a negative attitude.

Have Tenacity. Be consistent and forward thinking. Set reasonable academic and personal goals and understand what you need to do to meet them. Once you set your goals put them into action. Try to stay on the path despite whatever obstacles may be in your way. Think outside the box and come up with a solution to remove those obstacles. Follow through!

Take a notice at what all of these points spelled out. You have to have Guts, Resilience, Integrity, and Tenacity. You have to have GRIT. GRIT is a person’s persistence and determination of long-term goals. Try it! When you start to struggle in a class or lose your enthusiasm, maintain positive behavior and remember that your ability and competence grows with your efforts. You can succeed and your work will always have value.


Upward Bound is funded by the U.S. Department of Education & sponsored by Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority Inc.