How to Manage Back to School Jitters

Starting a new school year can bring on a lot of stress. Whether it is because you are worried about academics or your social life, it can be hard readjusting to the school environment. It helps to know you are not the only one. There are other people struggling too. Luckily, experts have developed some ways to help students and their friends make it through these common back-to-school jitters.

When asked about what is the first step to helping a student who may be feeling panicky, Mr. Whittaker, the school psychologist, said “Don’t panic over panicking.” Many students come to him worrying about how their peers may perceive them, and it only adds to the pressure they are dealing with.  He describes it as a “tidal wave,”  and says that if you try to run from it, then you will be crushed, but if you go through it you will make it. “I like to remind myself of my support system when I am stressed out. That way I know there are people to listen, and there are always people who will listen,”

The school counselors also offer a place of support. Mrs. Greth likes to take students on a walk to clear their heads if they are feeling panicked or upset about something. Mrs. Morales likes to start with coping methods that students may already have in place. They both agreed that the best way to help a friend struggling with anxiety is to offer an open ear.

Ms. Violett, from the college and career center, also has some helpful advice. “Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend. If a friend were to come up to you with a problem, your response would likely not be to tell them that their feelings aren’t valid. People struggle and make mistakes, so be kind to yourself. Also, to help be proactive when it comes to anxiety, take small steps, be aware of deadlines, and focus on what you can control,” she suggests.

Sometimes it is hard though to listen to adults because it feels like they won’t understand what you need. Sometimes they may not. So what do students have to say?

Ninth grader, Rome John Henriques, suggests “Assure an upset friend that everything will be ok. Tell them that their self-worth is NOT defined by a number or letter. There is pressure on students to be perfect in school, but if you mess up once, it will not mess up everything.”

Tenth grader, Guadalupe Ortiz-Martinez, gives the advice “Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from your teachers or friends. Not for the answers, but for guidance.”

As a student though, it is also important to express what you need from teachers within reason. They are unable to help you if you don’t talk to them.

Eleventh grader, Giani Rich, said it best:  “I believe teachers should give students a little time and space in stressful situations. As humans, the first instinct is to fix a problem, but sometimes people just need a break.”

“No matter how small something may seem, if you feel anxious about it, there is someone out there who will listen and maybe even relate. You are not alone,” added Ms. Miller.