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A How-To Guide for Students Who Are Anxious for the New School Year

With the school year starting right around the corner, it’s very normal for anxiety to reach its peak. Advertisements on social media have already shifted from summer clothing brands and waterpark promos to back-to-school shopping and dorm room must-haves. Struggling with school and feeling anxious is not an indicator of whether or not you’re a bad student. We’re at the time where you’re starting to prep with the idea of late nights and exams. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your anxiety and have some things to look forward to this school year!

Some things you could do to get ahead of the stress and anxiety that are introduced at the beginning of the school year are to be sure you are establishing routine, taking mental breaks, tracking progress, and being open to change.

Establishing routine is an important and efficient skill to use when adjusting to how your daily routine might look. The routine that you establish at the beginning of the school year is most likely the one you’ll stick with for the remainder of the year. This is difficult because at the beginning of the school year, before anyone is adjusted to new schedules and coursework, spiraling is most likely to occur. Although if you are able to get ahead of the spiral by having an outlook on what your days will look like, it’ll give you a sense of control that’ll help you navigate what you can’t have control over, as in what you are assigned or who your classmates will be. This routine will help you understand what your days will look like, which will help you make decisions about things you may be unsure about within your day with a more clear mind.

Taking mental breaks is an important way to avoid burnout. If you take on too many commitments at once, regardless of whether or not you think you can handle them, you may experience burnout, which can get you from a high to a low with no consistency or linear change to follow. Burnout can be sudden and untimely, as it can affect more than just your schoolwork. A mental break would help in avoiding burnout significantly, and it also provides another sense of control in someone's life. You should reserve at least one day of the week that you can use to attend to your own personal needs, so that you don’t attach your well-being to grades that are unknowingly consistent. It’s important to separate your mental health from your school or any commitment that you may be taking part in.

The intention of tracking progress rather than grades is another way to get ahead of school anxiety this year. Tracking progress is an alternative to tracking grades, where you are able to determine how well you’re doing in school by how much personal improvement you show instead of taking grades and numbers at face value. This is another way to make sure you’re not attaching your self-worth to grades and also allows you to better understand what areas of school you may need extra help on.

Being open to change is important for making sure you don’t get overwhelmed with new coursework, peers, teachers, and classrooms. You can prepare yourself for entering a new social environment this school year by visiting coffee shops or libraries that are near your new classes, or maybe making a friend on the first day. To be able to familiarize yourself in any small way could lessen any overwhelming or uncomfortable feelings that may arise with your new environment.

These tips are intended to assist in lessening feelings of anxiety or stress, but they may not completely eliminate them. If you are feeling this way because of the school year starting, understand that you are not alone, and luckily, there are academic professionals to personally assist you with ways to overcome the stress of school with things like dropping a class or rearranging your schedule. Good luck!

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