Austin Scholar #26: Three Ways To Get Your Kid Ready For The School Year
I have returned to Austin from two of the greatest weeks of my entire life. I had such a transformative experience at Oxford, and I feel like I’m coming back changed.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This week from Austin Scholar...
Austin’s Anecdote: Recap of my two weeks at Oxford University
Three ways to get your kid ready for the school year
Scholar’s Sources: My top resources for preparing for college in high school
Since I’ve been out of the loop the past couple of weeks, here are a few life updates to get you caught up:
School begins on August 17th, so I’ve been buying binders and prepping my calendars.
I’ve been continuing to work on Write of Passage: Liftoff, writing newsletters, and spending hours on Twitter. (Go follow @AustinScholar!) On that note– I got my first hate comment on Twitter, and I honestly feel like that’s an achievement.
And… I got my driving permit! The DPS finally accepted that I, indeed, had all one hundred of the correct documents.
So, yeah. It’s been pretty busy since I’ve gotten back, and it’s only going to get busier, so stay tuned for some awesome updates.
(Side note – this is the 26th newsletter, which means I’ve been writing these for half of an entire year! Time sure flies.)
One last thing: I’ve been talking to some readers and have received the recommendation to change my publishing day to Saturday or Sunday instead of in the middle of the week. Would you prefer to get this newsletter in your inbox on the weekend? Or do you prefer it on a weekday? Hit reply and let me know your thoughts!
Austin’s Anecdote: Recap Of My Two Weeks At Oxford University
This week’s anecdote isn’t related to the article, but I had such an amazing time at Oxford that I want to tell you all about it.
First off, the physical location of Oxford is stunning and historical, and that’s something that was really important to me.
I live in Austin, Texas, where there are glass highrises in the city and dead grass during the summer. Also, comparatively, the United States in general is pretty young in terms of world history. That’s what I’m used to.
So, when I arrived at Oxford, I was completely awed by the intricacy of the stone architecture. There were bushes of flowers at every corner and actually healthy-looking grass. I seriously felt like I was in a movie.
And the years of history every building exuded just made me swoon:
The Bodleian Library, with its horror stories of books being burned.
St. Mary’s Church, where generations of students graduated from Oxford.
The Ashmolean, where the first recorded instance of writing and communication is on display.
All these beautiful and monumental structures made me feel connected to the world and its people in a way I never had.
I wanted to learn every single secret the hundred-year-old walls held and read the words of hundreds of ancient scholars.
Simply being at Oxford changed me.
And that’s not even getting into the incredible people I was surrounded by, which was the best and most valuable part of that experience. I won’t gush, because I could wax poetic for hours about everything I learned from the eight lovely souls I spent two weeks writing with, but here’s something that every single one of us said at our final dinner together:
“There was a moment where I felt like I might be the worst writer in this group, and that was one of the best things to happen to me because it made me want to work harder and be a better writer.”
Wow. Is that not one of the most beautiful things?
I was in a place where I was with such extraordinary people who constantly inspired each other to want to be better.
I nearly cried when, at the closing ceremony, our professor read out our final project: a collaborative piece on goodbyes. Each brilliant, unique voice shone through and I realized exactly the type of people I want to spend the rest of my life surrounded by.
I also got a chance to see what independent life would look like for me. I made sure I had food for meals, purchased a fan in time for the hottest day in Oxford’s history, made it to all of the right places at the right times, made sure I slept enough hours, and set enough alarms and reminders to keep myself organized.
I feel like I matured a little bit–in figuring out all of these aspects of life. I felt like a wide-eyed kid getting a list of responsibilities for the first time and rushing to prove that I can do it.
And then I became a jaded teenager who hates the entire world when I got stopped three separate times by security in the London airport. After the third baggage check, you would think that the system would realize that my liquids were, in fact, contained in the appropriately-sized bag and that my portable charger wasn’t dangerous.
Jokes and horrible airport experiences aside, this trip to Oxford was exactly what I needed. I didn’t exactly have a relaxing summer (my newsletter, Write of Passage, other school stuff, driving, etc.) and I was starting to feel a little bit drained.
This trip reenergized me through incredible history and amazing peers and a taste of independence. Oxford reminded me of what my goals are and what I’m working towards.
Three Ways To Get Your Kid Ready For The School Year
School for most kids is right around the corner. Here are my top recommendations to help your kid get prepped!
Encourage Your Kid To Take Ownership Over Their Education
I know I’ve already written an entire newsletter on this idea (see Austin Scholar #6: Teenagers Need To Take Control Of Their Education), but since it’s the beginning of a new school year, it’s a great time to revisit talking to your kids about owning their education.
“Owning your education” is a pretty ambiguous phrase. It can be hard to start a conversation around it.
But, this short questionnaire that I took during the gt.school bootcamp is a brilliant place to begin: