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Photograph: Courtesy Kelsey Dubinsky

Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas shares her back-to-school tips

Written by
Kelsey Dubinsky

The new school season is fast-approaching, and while it’s fun to get those bookbags ready with cool back-to-school supplies, preparing young minds for the new year is just as important. Time Out New York Kids recently caught up with Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, who was at Publicolor with the Post-it Brand to chat with students about how kids can go for the gold by setting goals for the school year.

As a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the first African-American all-around Olympic gold medalist, Gabby knows a thing or two about pushing herself and staying focused. She graduated from high school in 2015, all the while training for her second Olympics! Read on for Gabby’s top tips on thriving in school and making leaps and bounds long after the last bell rings.

What advice would you give to students to help them stick to goals during the school year?

Go 100 percent for it. You can’t procrastinate and you can’t backpedal. You have to just give it a shot.

What would you tell kids dealing with the stress of school?

I dealt with the stress of school, and I’d say, just relax. Take a breather, calm down, go do something fun. Look at your vision board, which I think is so key, because when you do that, you’ve created something. You look at it and believe in yourself that you can do it.

Photograph: Courtesy Marion Curtis, StarPix

What are your thoughts on the importance of “work hard, play hard?”

Working hard is as important as playing hard—you have to keep it fun and you have to keep it light. Otherwise you just become turned off, it becomes too hard and then it’s just all downhill from there. You have to keep a balance.

How can participating in extracurricular activities like gymnastics classes help students in the long run?

I think it’s so beneficial for kids to stay active. Gymnastics, basketball...any sport teaches you discipline, how to listen, learn and expand your mind.

How can students balance after-school programs with their homework and chores at home?

When I was in the gym, I solely focused on gymnastics. And when I was at home, I was like, okay, I have to get this schoolwork in. It’s all about setting different daily goals and planning your day out.

Need more back-to-school tips? Then check out our complete guide to getting kids back to school, including the best classes, cute supplies and books.

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