Helping you get through tough times

Going back to school

Be it after the holidays or after a some gap, going back to school often seems a little daunting.

pencils, pens, notebooks and rulerYou might be excited about seeing people and getting started. But it’s understandable to be sad that the days of lie-ins are over for a while, and worried about how things are going to go.

No matter what you’re feeling, here are a few tips to help you get back in the right mind frame and motivated for the new school year.

At the beginning of the school year it’s fairly typical to feel:

  • stressed or anxious
  • excited – time to see friends again, get new stationery (we know, new pens are a surprisingly exciting thing)
  • sad or down – holidays are over
  • pressure or expectations from yourself or others
  • physically sick, including headaches or migraines
  • concerned about work load or exams coming up.

If you’re experiencing these feelings, it’s important to look after yourself. Take time out to do something that you enjoy. Even though you might not feel like it, getting some exercise and eating well can help.

You might also be worried about going back to school because you have been bullied in the past, and are worried it might continue. For tips on what to do if you are being bullied, check out the bullying section.

If how you’re feeling is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust. This could be someone like a friend, school counsellor or family member – check out face-to-face help. Remember you are not alone and it’s likely other people have similar feelings to you.

Some suggestions for making the move back to school as stress-free as possible:

Set yourself some goals for the year

To get motivated for the new school year is to think about the things you might like to achieve during the year. These might be school related goals – for example, getting good marks in English and Maths. Or, they might be more personal goals, for example to get take up a new sport or hobby. Check out setting goals.

Get involved

A good way to get back into things at school and to make new friends is to become involved in activities that interest you. This way you’re meeting people who you have things in common with. Think about trying things you haven’t before,like:

  • sport (most schools offer a range of different team sports)
  • music
  • debating
  • drama
  • student’s council

Breaking the ice

You might find yourself in classes with people you don’t know very well when you go back to school. People can feel nervous about making new friends., so it can sometimes take someone to break the ice. You could ask someone in your class to have a game of football, or talk about music or films.

It’s often easy to identify different groups within schools: popular, academic, sporty, rebellious, etc. But making the effort with anyone (no matter what group they hang out with) can help you to be more open-minded.

Express yourself

Being able to express how you are feeling may help release some tension you may feel. There are a loads of ways you can do this – play music, play sport, write or whatever works for you.

Have something to look forward to

Sometimes it can really help to have something to look forward to if it’s hard getting to grips with being back at school. Plan something with your friends after school or do something fun over the weekend.

If you are starting at a new school, check out that section. If you find you’re not coping with the thoughts of going back, talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

This could be a friend or family member, or sometimes talking to someone who is outside your situation can really help. This may be someone like a school counsellor, school nurse, or a teacher – it’s part of their job to be there to support students.

If you would prefer to talk to someone anonymously you could contact Childline for free on 1800 66 66 66 or Samaritans on 116 123. They have people there to listen 24 hours a day.

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This article was last reviewed on 24 March 2017

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