|TERESA DA SILVA|
Next week most of the Portuguese schools will open their doors to the challenges of a new school year. As the long summer days bid a lingering farewell, most school-goers find themselves torn between the desire to continue their holiday and the excitement of reconnecting with their colleagues, the eagerness of engaging in new acquaintances and new knowledge. There are, as always, those who dread the moment. Those who continuously show their worries and sometimes disrespect for the educational system. The majority of these have behavioural issues that mask learning difficulties and lack of self-confidence.
I want to send out a message of encouragement to all school-goers today. Be confident. Success at school and, ultimately in life, cannot and should not be measured by grades alone. Your future does not depend entirely on your grades but also on the capacity you have to overcome your fears and discover your own personal worth. Believe in yourself. Respect yourself…and others.
Remember that you are not alone in this fight and that like you, students, many teachers and non-teaching staff are going through the same emotions. Develop dialogue with your parents, your peers and your teachers. Do not be afraid to share your insecurities and doubts. This will help beat the stress and the awkward moments of self-doubt. Dialogue in the school and at home will also create a better understanding of the world around you: different ideologies, different beliefs, and different cultural backgrounds. Dialogue will help the process of sharing knowledge (study groups, peer tutorials, clearing doubts). Dialogue will avoid a lot of the bullying that seems to plague our schools.
Start preparing now – reconnect with a healthy lifestyle. You have a week to get your body and mind ready for the new school year. Get used to regular and reasonable hours of sleep, eat healthy food, buy school and study material and create a pleasant study environment. Get rid of the clutter and prepare for the new adventure.
Once classes begin, organise your schedule. Create a schedule for yourself, not for others but do not forget to include them. Plan your studies. Set realistic and achievable goals for each of your subjects. Concentrate on transcending your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths. This will make you reach your full potential and motivate you to continue the journey of self-development. That should be the reward in itself but why not give yourself a real treat for every goal achieved; for example, watching a movie, go out with friend, a bicycle ride, etc…
Do not forget that this is not a lonely journey. Your family, your friends, your school colleagues, and your teachers are there with you and together you can make it through another school year, a successful school year.