5 Back-to-School Tips We Learned from Star Wars

Whether you’re training in a classroom, Jedi Temple, or cave, these Star Wars lessons can help prepare you.

The return to school is an annual tradition experienced by both parents and children every August — back-to-school shopping, mentally abandoning beaches and baseball diamonds, getting everything in order for another year of hitting the books. Of course, in Jedi Temples, Imperial Academies, and Clone Cadet programs throughout the galaxy, the learning never ends. And despite Master Yoda keeping his own counsel regarding who is to be trained, we’d like to offer five quick ways eager Padawans — and their masters! — might prepare themselves for the upcoming school year.

Rey meets Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To.

1. Start establishing a routine.

“I’ve seen your daily routine. You are not busy.” – Rey

Granted, for many school has already begun…but for a lucky few younglings eking out the last bits of their summer, a good practice might be for parents to have them following a daily schedule for the next eight-to-nine months. A set time to sleep and rise, an assigned time to read or practice what they might need in the school year will greatly help students mentally prepare themselves for their new routine come September. Sure, not every kid is going to work lightsaber training into their evening agenda, but putting aside even a small amount of time each day to refresh skills learned the year before will have reluctant learners good to go once the school bell rings.

Luke Skywalker stands amid the swamp on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.
2. Gather all necessary supplies.

“What’s in there?” “Only what you take with you.” – Luke Skywalker and Yoda

A Jedi is ready for anything. As is a clone trooper, bounty hunter, smuggler, or pilot. Before setting out for adventure or a mission, the true student of the galaxy prepares him or herself by obtaining the right supplies to achieve success. Now’s the time for families to venture forth to local markets and traders or find a reliable smuggler to help acquire the goods one needs for school. While we wouldn’t say no to a Chopper eraser or a Jyn Erso folder in the mix, spend the time identifying the supplies you’ll need for the upcoming year. Lists are usually provided by a school either in advance of the year or right after it begins, but if not, feel free to hunt down the usually wanted bounties — pens and pencils, pads and folders, clothes, erasers, scissors, pencils boxes, and any tech that might come in handy, like laptops, tablets, or good ol’ calculators. Trust us; sometimes it’s that last minute trip to Mos Eisley that will get you just the three-ring binder the Empire needs.

Clone troopers stand at attention.

3. Get ready to make new friends and greet old colleagues.

“Look around. We’re one and the same. Same heart, same blood.” – Fives

Probably the one thing prospective students look forward to about the school year is reconnecting with old colleagues and getting the chance to make brand new pals. That first minute walking the halls, high fiving friends you haven’t seen since spring, catching up, and staking out old haunts will bring a smile to the face of even the most grizzled clone campaigner. But make sure your cadets seek out newer faces (even, if like clones, they all look the same) and do their best to ensure new recruits get a sense of belonging.

The Phantom Menace - Qui-Gon with Anakin

4. Start dialing back after-school distractions.

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

Who among us can resist going to Tosche Station to pick up power converters? Would you rather be zooming your YT-1300 light freighter into battle against a Death Star or put it through its paces on a Kessel Run? Yeah, there are Podraces to be won, art to create, and Ewok dances to be danced. But with the summer winding down and responsibility once again rearing its inconvenient head, slowly phasing back extracurricular distractions to manageable, attainable portions of time will help younglings focus less on video games and mobile phones and more on their training. No one is suggesting an outright ban on all things fun; but budgeting smaller periods of time throughout the afternoon and evening will allow students to not only complete their training, but also finish plating that protocol droid they’re slowly building in the garage.

Yoda stands amid the swampy landscape of Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.

5. Prepare for the unexpected.

“Always in motion is the future.” – Yoda

Things will happen — school is an adventure, just as much as a wild, carefree summer — and whether a student is studying holo-maps or learning the secrets of a vast, interconnected Force, new experiences and unpredictable ventures wait just around the corner of every classroom. The point is, every school year ushers in the next level in a student’s lifelong, unending education about his or her place in life, the galaxy, and the Force. Stock them with supplies, allow them to clear their mind, help them unlearn what they have learned. But above all, guide them to the first day of the next level in their education, readying them for becoming the Jedi, senator, pilot, general, or rebel the galaxy may one day need.

Check out our own Star Wars back-to-school shopping list for supplies from a galaxy far, far away!

Neil Kleid is a writer and designer who truly belongs among the clouds. He digs Star Wars, comix, mobile design, BBQ, and baseball. Talk to him about design and Lobot on Twitter at @neilkleid.