By Katie Wornek, Outreach Officer and Financial Aid Expert – February 2018 (updated January 3, 2019)

2019 is here and that means the school year is nearly half over! Here are some expert tips for keeping your momentum in the months leading up to summer break and finishing your school year out strong…

1. Plan ahead

From homework to extracurricular activities, odds are your daily schedule is incredibly busy! Accomplishing your tasks on time is a lot easier if you’re organized. Try some of these strategies:

  • Make a checklist of your daily tasks
  • Track homework assignments in a day planner or calendar
  • Set due-date reminders on your phone

2. Reflect on your week

On my drive home from work each Friday, I take a few moments to silently summarize my week. When your week is done, try setting aside some time for reflection. Identify everything you accomplished since Monday – if you feel proud of your list, give yourself a pat on the back! If you feel disappointed or think your efforts came up short, determine what went wrong and decide what you can change next week.

3. “Start with why”

If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s harder to find the motivation to do it. In his now-famous TED Talk, author Simon Sinek coined a strategy he calls “start with why”. The concept is simple: most people try to accomplish tasks by determining what they have to do and how they’ll do it. But the world’s most inspiring leaders and greatest achievers start their tasks by determining why their actions are important. They identify their purpose, values, and beliefs and let them guide every decision they make. Are you bored in chemistry class? Your lifelong dream of becoming a doctor could be the “why” you need to push through. Are you sick of filling out scholarship applications? Remind yourself of how fun and beneficial college will be. Are you tired of putting in volunteer hours? Recall how rewarding it can be to give back to others.

4. Balance work and play

A good education is key to a bright future, so school needs to be at the top of your priority list. But if you push yourself hard every day without taking some time for yourself, you could easily start to feel burned out. It’s healthy to take the occasional break from your obligations to hang out with friends and family, participate in the activities you love, or just rest for a bit.

5. Challenge yourself and discover new ideas

Sometimes you can lose motivation if you’re feeling bored or unchallenged. If this sounds like you, talk to your teachers about ways to push yourself, stretch your abilities, and develop new skills. Or spice up your school year by discovering new goals, tasks, and milestones in our grade-by-grade checklists.

6. Let StepUp be your ally

We want you to excel in school so you can have a happy, successful future. If you have any questions about your education, we are always here to help! Here are a few ways to connect with us: