Don’t Lag Behind: 5 Ways to Start The School Year Strong

tips for back to school

School kicks off in early September for most, for others it may already be a grueling reality. Whether you are already trudging through the halls or enjoying your last few mornings of MTV, here are a few tips for starting the school year off right.

1. Start waking up a little bit earlier each day. It’s harder to make yourself go to bed earlier than it is to wake up earlier (even if it doesn’t feel that way!) Avoid ‘back-to-school jet lag.’ Jet lag doesn’t only happen when you return home from a European vacation; starting a new routine (like cruising into first period by 7:45 am) can take a big toll on your first weeks back at school, which can have a significant impact on your grades for the year. Try adjusting your sleep patterns for a few days in order to prepare for your upcoming schedule.

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Role Call: A #WomanCrushWednesday Recap

Real Women Who Inspire.

Real Women Who Inspire.

In honor of our tenth ‘Role Call‘ interview, a blog section featuring professional young women occupying diverse careers (and their advice to teens!), here is your chance to take a look back at the growing list of career role models who made the cut – and importantly, a recap of the life advice they wish they had received in high school.

Looking back, what general life advice would you give to your former high-school self?

Academia: “Chill out. I went to a super high stress high school, where I often joke everyone had to be the “Best ____” and that blank could be filled a million ways, English student, squash player, troublemaker, whatever (I was none of those). I think the times that I have struggled in my life are when some things were going awry, but I didn’t want anyone to know, so I refused to reach out for help. I’m still not great at that, and I think learning how to ask for help is a behavior/habit that we should develop earlier in our lives. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you are weak or dumb or less than, it just means you are strong and you want to improve.”

-Bernadette Doykos, Research Associate

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Sex Ed: Why The Bedroom Belongs in the Classroom

It's hard to make a pencil and sharpener look sexy but use your imagination here.

It’s hard to make a pencil and sharpener look sexy but use your imagination here.

There’s an interesting [read: incredibly dangerous] tension between teenagers who do not want to talk about sexual health with their teachers, teachers who often cannot inform students any further than an ineffective abstinence-only education, and the parents who threaten legal action when their children are introduced to the concept of intercourse as anything more than a marital, procreational act.

It’s completely understandable that teens feel squeamish about sex education in the classroom. Why? Teens get completely mixed messages. In the media, everyone is having very sexy sex. In the classroom, the lesson plans sound like they were created in a different century: sex is taboo, secretive, and illicit before marriage. Of course teens are clamming up in the classroom, feeling guilty about their actions after hours, and engaging in high-risk sexual activity regardless.

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Love Letters: Freshman Blues, Red Leather Pants, and Do-Overs

Love Letters

‘Love Letters’ is a Petal + Sass blog feature that regularly asks a group of diverse women in their 20’s and 30’s about their experiences with health, sex, emotional wellness, body image, college, careers – and what they wish they had known themselves as teenagers. Visit the Love Letters’ To My Former Self page to learn more about the contributors.

Question posed: What was freshman year of college really like for you? What were your expectations versus the reality? Do you have any regrets, and what would you do differently looking back?

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Building Lasting Friendships in 5 Steps or Less

building lasting friendships

A follow up from Part I: 5 Ways to Make Friends Fast (Just Don’t Expect It To Last).

Whether the honeymoon period from Freshman Orientation is growing stale or you are new to the neighborhood, building real friendships is important for your well-being and emotional life. It may be easy to bond with someone over a shared yoga class or a frozen yogurt, but it can be trickier to establish real, intimate friendships where you feel comfortable sharing your deep thoughts, venting personal frustrations, or just being together in comfortable silence. Remember: It’s takes time to meet people and build lasting friendships. Here are 5 steps to help you along the way.

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5 Quick Ways to Make Friends Fast (Just Don’t Expect It To Last)

How to make friends

If you are on the brink of heading off to college this month, or even starting a new boarding or high school, you may have been sent this recent article in the New York Times, The Real Skinny on Freshman Year. Conventional wisdom at its best – a definite read as you embark on a new adventure surrounded by strangers and boundless options.

What the piece didn’t break down was how and when you make friends. When starting a new school, this is perhaps the most anxiety-producing, keep-you-awake-at-night dilemma as you envision your new life unfolding. The truth is, the friends you make off the bat when starting a new school may not be the friends you end up keeping in touch with 10 years (or even 10 weeks) down the line – but they are important to settling in, feeling happy, and meeting those friends that will click for life. Maybe you’ll get lucky and your roommate or lab partner truly will your maid of honor someday. If not, here are 5 solid, quick tips (and their flip sides) to finding fast friends as you step foot onto a new social scene.

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