By Sana Yooseph, international trustee 

It’s finally that time of year … back to school! You might feel dread or excitement, and you’ll likely feel a combination of both. Nonetheless, remember to maintain a balance throughout the year. Keeping organized starts with early planning. 

This is the perfect time to start using a digital or physical planner, or whatever works for you. Personally, I savor the satisfaction of drawing a big X over completed tasks in my planner (which is decorated with a fun image of Spencer from the Nickelodeon show “iCarly”). 

It’s also useful to keep a calendar. In between your sports, work and homework, make sure to schedule some time for yourself. Whether napping, TikTok or calling friends, it is vital to allow time for relaxation. 

If you’re taking advanced classes this year, my biggest tips would be to establish a study schedule, spread out your work each week, find useful online resources like Crash Course or Khan Academy and, most importantly, become friendly with your teacher. If you’re ever confused, you should always feel like you can ask your teachers for help. 

In terms of Key Club, start meeting with your club boards and faculty advisors to plan your meeting dates and big service events and brainstorm new ways to recruit members. (Ice cream socials are particularly effective.) As a club member, don’t be shy to approach your board with ideas for new service projects. Also check out the Key Club International website for tips on volunteering, applying for the Youth Opportunities Fund service grant, developing new leadership skills and connecting with your local Kiwanis clubs. Reach out to your division’s lieutenant governor if you have any questions. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics of going back to school, I’d like to offer you a challenge: Find a way to make school fun. 

I know, I know, school can be difficult, but perhaps there are ways to make it a little brighter. As a motivational speaker would say, “It’s time to start romanticizing your life.” How do I accomplish this? Personally, I always carry a book, so if I get bored, I have something to do. Sadly, I have no classes with my friends, so we always make time to see each other at break or before school. I also bike to school, and this form of early-morning exercise makes me feel rejuvenated and ready for the day. Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough, please eat breakfast. We are all growing teens, and even if it’s just a few spoonsful of cereal, you will feel so much better throughout the day. 

With these tips in mind, I wish you the best school year yet! I leave you with the wise parting words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”