Academic years around the world differs. In Australia it varies between states and institutions but it generally runs from late January/ early February up to mid December for primary and secondary schools with slight variations during the inter term holidays. For colleges and universities, its from late February up until mid November with breaks and seasonal holidays for each educational institute. But there is one thing every student around the world, on any type of academic year they are into will surely feel – the dread of going back to school. Well, it’s not as horrible as it sounds but no one can deny the back to school blues and hang-ups. Some can feel a bit of depression, some a little bit excited and just the thought of going back to school will make them go back to bed and not care at all. There are several signs that an individual is experiencing the blues: sleepless nights, not eating well, unexplained stomach aches, thinking of the first day of school a lot, sleeping more than normal and plotting on how to get out of the first week or what to do on the first weekend on the first week of school. Such signs will vary with each individual but anyone can beat the back to school blues.
Going back to school doesn’t have to be so bad. Below are some of the suggested ways in knocking out the anxieties and the school blues away.
Reconnect with old friends. For kids and adults alike, it’s not unusual to lose touch with school friends once the school year ends. For kids, arranging a playdate a few weeks before school starts is a good way of re-establishing relationships with old friends and playmates. Connecting with old friends will help the kids to be more confident and excited at the same time before school starts. For adults, connecting with high school or college friends is just as easy as a simple phone call, a text message or an email then arrange a small party to jump start the school year.
Get back into the school rhythm. While every student will be tempted to hold on to every minute and last opportunity to live a schedule and home work free life, it will be very helpful to establish a new routine before the start of the school year. Quit late night activities and try to ease back to a more manageable sleep rituals. Being comfortable with the new eating and sleep schedule will help minimize anxiety and the changes to a person’s system and body clock.
Change expectations. Don’t put too much pressure on the school, teacher or fellow students. Let the new school year flow naturally and accept some of the changes. Embrace and accept the new start. Use mood uppers such as listening to a favorite music, reading a good book, going for a walk with family and friends or having sex ( this applies to responsible adults).
Set goals. Most students feel jittery about how things will go once the new school year starts. Setting academic, personal and professional goals will give a sense of control over any new experiences and as a result, it will motivate the student to tackle the challenges head on.
Talking to kids about start of school worries. Every child has their own back to school worries like fitting in and making new friends or being scared of the challenges a new grade will present. As a parent, find out exactly the causes of their worries and help them think of things about how to overcome their fears. Let the kids know that the teacher, school counselor and the parents are there to help them whenever they need it. Open the lines of communication.
Normalize the experience. Back to school fears are common to all students, from children to adults. It’s a good reminder that all students feel the same thing and will have similar experiences at the start of the school year. Sharing experiences with kids about back to school jitters especially from a parent’s experience will help kids in gaining confidence. For high school and college students, it will not hurt to talk to your parents about any anxieties about the first day of school.