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Focus. It is something that can be destroyed so easily, but something we need to retain. Many things, such as stress and distractions, can take our focus away. If you have a goal, you want to stay on the path to reaching it. “Don’t just reach for the stars, own them.” It is amazing what can happen just before you take a test. Your mind goes blank, your hand starts shaking, you begin reading and none of the words make sense. Focus. Don’t worry about how fast the person next to you is going. Focus. Don’t think about what you might score. Focus. Don’t second guess. Focus, just focus.

It is just you, your pencil, and that test paper. You have the power in your hand to get an amazing score. You studied hard for this test. Don’t let the stress clog your brain. Believe in yourself. It all starts with (you guessed it) focus. Stress doesn’t help you; it distracts you when you let it. Only a tiny bit is needed to get your adrenaline started so you can write that 5-page essay. But when it starts to take over, you have a problem and your mind goes blank. Don’t think about what could happen if you don’t do well. Don’t think about the negative, think about what you are doing right now. Maintain focus and awareness on your current situation. This is a reminder for high school students who are very busy, and stressed to the point where they don’t know what to do.

You can only fight one battle at a time. Be confident that you can do this. Stress will not let you focus hard enough. You can easily make a mistake or second-guess yourself if you don’t mute that voice inside your head, telling you, you can’t do it. One tip is to smile instead of looking stressed because that motion will send signals to your brain that you are happy and not stressed. Instantly, you can focus better. If time is what stresses you, wear a watch. Essentially, do what makes you feel confident so that you can score well on the test. Don’t look at a math problem, and think “Oh no! That looks hard.” You can tackle it step by step after focusing and allowing yourself to use what you know. Stress is frequently highlighted as a major problem in students, but it is actually the lack of focus due to stress that is the problem. Overwhelmed high school students that are successful take things step by step. Make this year great. Focus.