Listen to your brain to help you earn “A’s”
Your mom and dad tell you what you need to do to get “A’s”. Your teachers tell you what you need to do to get “A’s”. Your friends tell you what you need to do to get “A’s”. They have good advice but probably the best advice as to how you can get “A’s” is from your brain.
Your brain knows how you can earn good grades in school. You just have to listen to it. Here is what it is telling you.
Get plenty of sleep. Sorry, it’s true. Your brain needs between 8 to 12 hours sleep each night. If you don’t get it, your brain will find some way of getting it. In most cases, you will fall asleep in class or on the bus. The reason why early elementary age students have nap time in school is for a very good reason. Their brains need it.
While you are sleeping, your brain is working. It’s sorting out the millions and millions of things your mind has been exposed to that day. It discards the junk and keeps the good stuff. It’s kind of like going to work and having piles and piles of papers on your desk. You get more done with an uncluttered desk and you learn more with an uncluttered brain that had time to sort things out.
Try this experiment. Go to bed early. Relax your brain. Let it work for you. See if getting the right amount of sleep each night makes you a better student.
Drink water. Water is, you could say, the lifeblood of the brain. It keeps the brain from overheating, which can cause the brain to shut down like an engine in a car. If you dehydrate the brain, you become more tired and even dizzy. You can’t think straight. The recommended water intake is about 8 glasses a day with at least four during the school day.
Keep using your brain. When you read, you are processing information, which is what your brain thrives on. Think of your brain as having an appetite. It doesn’t like junk food like TV or mindless computer games. It is hungry for challenges like reading, math puzzles, creative arts projects, challenging physical games and other things that make it grow. It doesn’t want to be a dried up potato. Feed it well. Make your brain grow.
Don’t procrastinate. Many of us wait until the last minute to do something we may not like to do. Here’s a secret. If you start the task, just by doing one or two little things, you are more likely to finish it. You just have to start.
Don’t get uptight. Wow, this is a tough one. We all have things that cause us to worry and we get all stressed out over them. These things could have to do with relationships, home life, school life, activities, the way we look, and many other things. Here’s what you need to do. As hard as it is, you need to put these behind you for the moment. You need to focus on what you need to do in school to do your best.
Here’s another secret. Everybody in the world wants you to do your best in school—everybody. This means your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your teachers, your mentors—everyone. They give you permission to put your worries behind you. They know that your number one goal in life is to do your best in school and graduate.
How do you focus? Try to focus for ten minutes. Take a two-minute break. Focus for another 15 minutes. Reward yourself. Work in small chunks of time. It helps if you clear all of the fun stuff from around you. You can do it. You just have to, as they say, suck it up and do it.
Write down what you need to do. To do lists are good; just don’t list over three to five things. Pick out the most important thing and get a good start on it. It will feel real good when you can cross things off your list. Ask a parent to help you with your to do list. Sometimes when we tell someone what we are going to do, we are more likely to get it done.
Picture yourself doing well. I am a huge believer in having a positive attitude about things. Why? This goes back to the way our brain does things. If we can convince our brain that we can do something, we will do it. This is what friends do for you. They tell you that you are okay and they keep telling you until your brain begins to believe it.
So tell yourself that you can do whatever you need to do. If you need help, that’s fine, ask for it. The important thing is to believe in yourself.
Don’t get bogged down in your mistakes. I’m glad presidents of the United States don’t get bogged down because they make a lot of mistakes. They have advisors and friends that tell them, “That’s fine. We’ll move on from here.” You do the same when you make a mistake. Learn from it and just try not to do it again.
Here’s a secret. I never did well in high school because no one ever told me what I am telling you. If you remember these things and do them, I guarantee, that you will do better in school. That’s no secret.
Good luck this year and don’t forget to say hello to your principal and treat your teachers with respect. That will also help you get good grades.
(In case you are wondering about the photo, that’s me and Billy the Kid taken in Lincoln, New Mexico. It’s the only known photo of the Kid. Billy could have been a really smart guy but he just didn’t learn from his mistakes. As a result he died much too young.)