Like the gaudy prom dresses and bad haircuts of your high school years, stressful nights spent cramming are still part of the experience for today’s students.
To cut down on the amount of time spent forcing a sleep-deprived teen out of bed in the morning, Thomas Michalos, counselor at the International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Township, has time management tips for both kids and parents.
“We’re not all the same, so we need to find what works for us,” he says. “It’s also important that a student be flexible. Sometimes you’ll have to study more than other times, so you have to learn balance.”
Michalos says it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a large assignment, so dividing it into smaller, easier-to-deal-with chunks can help. “Even if it’s as small as breaking up a paper into the introduction, body, conclusion and bibliography, if those are broken down into tasks with individual goals set, it helps students stay focused and on task,” he says.
The biggest piece of advice Michalos has for students trying to manage sports, jobs and school is to stick to a schedule. He recommends carving out study times and breaks – and finding creative ways to sneak homework into other activities.
“Students doing sports might have to find time to do work on a break at a game,” he says. “Sometimes students also study if they’re traveling to games, so using that time wisely would help as well.”
Michalos stresses that all kids are different – and so are their needs.
“For some of our students, they need a helicopter parent. For others, slowly letting go of that and letting a student become more independent is better,” he says. Michalos recommends that students who require an extra parental push do homework in a common area of the house, allowing parents to get a peek at what their child is doing.
Students struggling severely can reach out to their high school counselor, who should have a referral system available for further mental health assistance.