October 20, 2021

Beating the Back to School Blues

Ryan Fiorito

We all know that going back to school can leave you feeling nervous! Whether it has to do with talking to other kids or getting back into the work mindset. Here are some tips to beat common challenges with starting the school year!

The end of summer break means a lot of things – soon, it'll be fall, and hopefully it will cool down a little! One of the most important things that happens when summer ends is the start of the school year which is something a lot of students look forward to. However, going back to classes can be really stressful, as it means homework and studying are back and the freedom of summertime seems to disappear! Luckily, you are not alone – this is a totally normal feeling, and many other kids don't want to go back to school for quite a few reasons. Here are some tips can help you beat those back to school blues and set you up for a great rest of the school year!

One of the most common reasons students don't like going back to school is the difficulty that comes with starting a new grade. Maybe you've heard a rumor about a teacher that is really hard, or you've had an older sibling that's told you scary stories about what to expect in the coming years. Whatever the case, being worried about schoolwork is a super common occurrence. Luckily, those are just stories – and there are many ways you can overcome those fears! The easiest way is to tell somebody about your worries, whether it’s a parent, a teacher, or an afterschool tutor. Telling somebody you are having trouble understanding something that you're learning or that you feel underprepared is hard, but it can get you the help you need! Perhaps talking to your teachers can help them to explain specific problems you have with understanding the material. Additionally, communicating these concerns to your parents can encourage them to work with you after school or even enroll you in tutoring help, like Homework Hotspot! If you're a little older, you can also make a study group with your friends to learn the classwork together. Whatever the case is, you are not going into the school year alone, and everyone around you is there to help. Don't be afraid to ask for help because even a little bit can go a long way!

Another reason you may be dreading the return to school is the challenge with making new friends or meeting new people. This can be hard for anybody, even people who already know a lot of peers! If you are having a hard time talking to classmates or teachers, that's totally understandable. Maybe you're transferring from an old school, or consider yourself to be a shy person. These things can make talking to new people even harder! But don’t worry – here are some tips to help you talk to other people and make new friends. Firstly, learn to introduce yourself! It's super helpful to greet someone with a simple "Hi! My name is ____. What's yours?" From there, you can start talking about things you like, whether its tv shows, movies, games, sports, animals, whatever! Finding common ground and things you both like sets you on the road to friendship. And most importantly, ask them questions! It can be really hard to make friends if you only talk about yourself – unfortunately, a lot of people do this without even realizing it. Asking questions, listening, and giving thoughtful responses goes a long way towards making friends, even if it's as simple as "How are you today?" or "What did you think of this episode?" And remember, it's just as okay to spend time by yourself doing things that you like. Being independent is important too, as it can give you time to recharge or rest if you need it. What matters most is taking care of yourself, but having a few people you can really trust and consider friends is also really nice, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to new people!

If you're still worried about going back to school, the final tip I can give you is to recognize and talk about your fears. If you are worried about something, the hardest thing to do is stay quiet about it and face the fears alone; if you're worried your concerns are not serious enough or are too silly to talk about with someone else, stop thinking like that! The important thing is that whatever you're thinking about has got you down, and that in itself makes it a problem you can talk about. Telling somebody you trust about your worries, whether it is a family member, teacher, or another role model in your life can be super relieving! Often times, we don't even realize how important the support we get from others is which can help lessen our anxiety. If you are uncomfortable telling somebody about your problems, you can come to our Homework Hotspot support groups and talk it out with us. We can promise we will not judge you for any reason, and will support you in any way we can! Sometimes though, talking to others isn't as effective for some as it is for others. If that's the case, turning to creative outlets, like drawing, reading, or writing in a journal, can help you express your thoughts, while keeping them private to yourself. Whatever the case is, it is important you are not sitting with your worries, and are instead trying to find healthy ways to cope with your concerns.  

Hopefully, these tips can help you beat your back to school blues and set you up for a super school year! Even if you didn't have any, knowing this information can help you help others who are nervous about the new school year. And hopefully, you learned something about healthy stress releases and ways to communicate! You are stronger than you think, and we and so many others in your life are always here to help you through any worries you have – all you have to do is ask.  

Ryan Fiorito is a Senior studying social psychology and linguistics at UC Berkeley. At Thaddeus, he is a social work intern within the Homework Hotspot division! When not helping out at Thaddeus, he really likes to cook, take care of plants, make art, and hang out! He really hopes the article he wrote can help anyone who struggles with school related anxiety, as a child Ryan hopped around from school to school and knows firsthand how hard starting at a new school can be. Hope you enjoy!