An empty classroom with pupils desks, chairs, a teacher's desk and chair and a blackboard.

Going back to school can be an exciting but if you're feeling more worried than excited, it's important to know that you're not alone.

Change is never easy and the start of a new school year is always a big one – especially if you’re going from primary to secondary school, starting an exam year or about to start college.

You might be worried about:

  • Leaving home

  • Managing stress

  • Seeing people you haven’t seen for a while

  • Socialising

  • Managing homework and study

  • Meeting with teachers

  • Starting a new routine

These are all completely normal things to be concerned about. However, school is a big part of your life so its important to feel happy and confident going back. Here are some tips to help make the transition a little easier:

1. Schedule a chat with your best mate/sibling/parent

If you’re avoiding talking to your friends or family about your feelings because they think you’re ‘too old’ to be worried about going back to school, don’t be. Chances are they’ve felt the same as you at one point or another! They can offer support or advice. Your friends may be feeling the same. If you’re not ready to talk to someone you know, you can contact Childline by phone, text or web chat to talk anonymously. Voicing how we are feeling can help us feel better and less stressed.

2. Break the ice

Get in touch with people you may not have seen since you left school at the start of the summer. This could be via social media if you’re not ready to meet up. Ask them how they’re summer was or what they think the new teachers will be like. Making contact with friends can make socialising easier when you return to school.

3. Ask questions

Knowledge is power and the more you know about a situation, the better you can prepare for it. Remember that you can ask parents, carers or teachers about anything you are unsure about. Schools will be open before you return to classes so if you want to familiarise yourself with a classroom layout, the route to school or where the bathrooms/lockers are, ask someone and they’ll show you! 

4. Get yourself organised

There’s nothing like a good checklist to make you feel in control of a situation! Check you have all the necessary books and stationery for your classes. Get to know your timetable. Prepare your clothes/uniform for school. Being prepared can make you feel less anxious and worried.

5. Write down your hopes and fears

It might sound a bit strange but writing down your feelings can help you focus on the positives and highlight what exactly your fears and worries are. If you feel up to it, you can share this with a trusted person to help you cope with your worries and go through them one by one.

6. Have a cry

There’s nothing wrong with a good cry. In fact, it’s very therapeutic and if you think about it, you always feel better after crying, don’t you? Returning to school can be difficult. It takes time to adjust to a new routine. You may feel tired and overwhelmed. Give yourself time to rest, get a good night’s sleep and practice self-care. Do things that make you feel good like going for a walk with a pal or the dog, listen to music, watch a fun show, meet up with friends or take time to spend with family.

If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out the articles below: 

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