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Back to School Jitters
A little bit of anxiousness is fine – gearing up for something new – wondering about the unknown is common. But more serious signs of anxiety can manifest themselves as physical problems such as headaches, sleeplessness, stomach upset, mood swings, and/or changes in appetite.
How to calm these jitters? Make the unknown a little less unknown. To be more comfortable on Day 1, prepare. Get the backpack organized, figure out lunches (take or buy?), walk or drive the route to school, connect with friends (or acquaintances) to meet up at school – a familiar face can be reassuring.
Once preparation is in place, writing, even some journaling, about fears, apprehension and solutions can be helpful. Also, instead of focusing on the worry, find some distractions such as sports, puzzles, a good book, or spend time with a favorite hobby.
Worry about the actual academics can be calmed by learning a little bit about each class – read the class description in the student handbook (again, if necessary), research on Google what the new subject will entail… even learn some of the content. In my own experience, I was so worried all summer after the 8th grade about taking French in the 9th grade because I knew not a word of French. My wise educator mother gave me materials to familiarize me with the subject matter so I had an inkling of what was ahead. It was not necessary to go “deep” into the French language, just some basic “hello”, “good-bye”, “my name is” terms. I ended up taking four years of French in high school and continued my learning in college. A little bit goes a long way!
Illana Herzig Weintraub
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