As summer comes to an end, and the school year approaches, some girls will be stepping into their first classroom. Others will be entering some of their final moments of high school.

Wherever girls land on the K-12 spectrum, every school day is an opportunity for self-development, and none of them should be wasted. Here are five pieces of advice, so every girl can start the school year right:

Choose Your Lunch Table Wisely

The people you surround yourself with should support you and build you up. Don’t settle for a lunch table full of mean girls and gossipers. You want your lunch period to be a nice break from the academic rigor of the day, not an added test of coolness.

Raise Your Hand

Silence is the sound of thinking, but I didn’t understand that until last year. When teachers address the class with questions, they’re taught to wait up to ten seconds before they ask a follow up or repeat question.

To me, these ten seconds were excruciating. I’d have an answer or a response in mind, but I’d be too scared to interject my voice. What if I was wrong? Wouldn’t it be so embarrassing to say something wrong in front of the whole class?

Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from trying. It’s okay to be wrong. Learn the art of speaking and speaking well. There will be some blunders along the way, but some failures are inevitable unless you don’t try at all.

Read the Whole Book

Your teacher assigned it for a reason. There are hidden gems on every page that teach you about history, culture, and empathy. You might not want to be a literary critic when you grow up, but good reading skills are necessary for any profession. So, start practicing.

For those girls thinking about college, this is most definitely a transferrable skill. Learn it. Love it. Use it. Otherwise, you’re hindering your own education.

Forget about Dating

Crushes take up so much time and energy. Imagine how much more you could get done in Calculus if you weren’t thinking about what Alex’s text—“sup”—meant while your teacher was lecturing.

Balance Your Schedule

During high school, I danced competitively year round, acted in nearly every play, attended weekly piano lessons, and made straight A’s. What do I regret? Not spending more time with friends.

Extracurricular activities are important. Studying is vital. But, sometimes a last minute Steak n’ Shake run trumps reviewing those anatomy flash cards one last time.

Try to live in the moment and make memories. No one will remember your GPA in five years, but they will remember that one time Spiderman shared a table with you at Steak n’ Shake.