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New School Year, New Challenges

As the school year begins, students, parents, and teachers are looking forward to a new year of learning.

With nearly all COVID-19 policies gone, students can now dive into more activities than ever. But, with this comes many common challenges, as adapting to a hectic schedule can be more stressful than some may imagine.

“I think a large part of returning to school is just trying to get back into the gist of things,” says Ann Wang, a Grade 11 student. “I’ll need to build my work habits back after the summer.”

This could prove true for many teens, as difficult academic courses pile up.

Aside from heavy course loads, students may take up sports or other commitments. That can lead to organizational and scheduling challenges in maintaining a healthy routine.

A simple way to do this is to set small goals and use tools like calendars and schedules to stay on top of assignments.

After hearing from secondary students across Vancouver, including the university neighbourhoods, the Vancouver School Board decided to keep schools on the semester system. The board also increased Flexible Instructional Time to 160 minutes a week from 100 minutes.

That is intended to give students more time to study, meet with teachers or work on projects individually or with other students. Flexible Instructional Time hopefully offers support and enrichment and another way to aid with coursework.

As free time dwindles away, the time allotted to be with friends outside of school also decreases, which is where another challenge arises.

“I’m worried about who’s going to be in my class, how many friends I’ll have in each class, if at all,” Amelia Chu, a Grade 10 student, says. “Also, it’s going to be more difficult to meet up with people outside of school because all our activities are different and take up time.”

So, how can one find time to build a healthy social life?

One way is to find common activities that makes sure friends can see each other regularly. Another solution could be to set aside one day a week with limited commitments to provide time to relax or socialize.

The start of school places a similar stress on teachers and professors as well, says Yi Qian, a UBC associate professor.

“For me, a new school year means a new beginning, and a new wave of students,” she says. “A main part of the start of school as a professor is trying to finish research before the teaching begins to be able to better manage a healthy worklife balance.”

The start of school presents challenges. It can be a rough transition, but with the right preparation and resources, it can be an experience to look forward to.


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