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July 31, 2009

Victory Lists

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

I know, I know--no one wants to here me say it, but here goes: school starts next month. "How could that be?" we all ask, mourning the beach outings and barbecues that could have been. Sweltering in the late summer heat, it's hard to believe that the leaves will be changing, backpacks zipping, and cafeteria lunches steaming in so little time. Here we are nonetheless: poised on the brink of "back to school" and all the stress that comes along with it. Are you ready? Read on:

With three lists, you can make the most out of the summer you've got left, prepare for a great first day of school, and accomplish your goals for the coming year. Get a pad of paper and a pencil, and get ready for greatness.

Your first list is all fun, so sit yourself down and don't be afraid! Just ask yourself this: what do you want to accomplish this summer? What did you envision when school let out on that bright June day not too long ago? Whether it's quality time with friends, finishing an art or writing project, or just getting maximum relaxation in before the fall, make sure you prioritize your goals. Accomplishing them will help keep you from wondering where the summer went, and you'll feel better knowing you made the most of your vacation time. Besides, it's always good to actually have something to write about for that inevitable "What I Did This Summer" assignment.

Now that you know what you want to do in August, it's time to consider what you'll need to have done by September. Have you finished your summer reading? We all know how quickly that can sneak up on you. If you've experienced a growth spurt, now is also the time to get your new school clothes, instead of during the crazed shopping weekends that are coming up in a few weeks. When the dressing-room lines wrap around the store at the end of the month, you'll be glad you've already got your new kicks! While you're at it, make sure you have school supplies and books now, too. It's much easier to find used or less-expensive editions of your textbooks if you have plenty of time to search (and Better World Books is a great place to start)!

Once you're prepared to end the summer with fun and start the school year with style, it's time to make your last list. Take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish this school year--big dreams and small ones. This list is for you, so it probably won't match your teachers' or your parents' lists of goals. Their input is great, but this list is yours. Do you want to act in the school play? Ace geometry? Ask out your crush? Write down everything that would make your school year the best one ever.

Post your lists on your bedroom door, refrigerator, or desk. That way you'll have a constant reminder, and it will be way easier to stay on track and keep your goals in mind. Make sure to keep a bright marker handy, too, so you can check off your accomplishments one by one!

No one wants to think about the end of summer, but if you approach this time with solid goals and a positive outlook, your summer and your school year will be memorable and fulfilling. Who doesn't want that?

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