First Day of High School

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How to Prepare for the First Day of High School

Ideas to Ease the Anxiety of Starting a New Year

Starting high school can cause stress and anxiety for students. This is perfectly normal. Anxiety and stress originate from not knowing what to expect. When students continually think about the multiple scenarios of high school, their bodies react to the anxious, racing thoughts and then convert the thoughts into physical aliments. The following are some examples of anxious thoughts

  • How to dress on the first day of school?
  • When to eat lunch?
  • How does the lunch system work?
  • Will friends eat lunch at this same time?
  • Where are the classrooms in the school?
  • What happens if a student gets lost?
  • Will the older students harass younger students?
  • What school supplies are needed?
  • Are the teachers mean?
  • Will the lockers open?
  • Is it easy to make friends?

The physical stress can take on the following forms:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart pounding
  • Muscle aches
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood swings
  • Chest pains

By using some simple strategies students can reduce back-to-school stress and anxiety.

Attend School Designated Orientation Sessions

Many high schools offer an orientation day or evening for students and their parents. During this time students usually receive their class schedule and walk around the school to find the classrooms.


One other element of the orientation is to understand the lunch system. Students are given a schedule of lunch times, a tour of the lunch line process.

Visit the School

Schools are usually open throughout the summer mostly for office business; however, the rest of the school is also open. Students can use this time to visit the school, walk around and find classes and other places of interest. Sometimes the main office will have a map of the school layout. This can assist with finding different places in the school.

Participate in School Activities

Schools often offer opportunities to join various clubs and sports. Fall activities begin in August prior to the first day of school. By joining an activity students can begin to form new friendships, not to mention adding to future college applications. The main school office will have access to a list of activities offered at the school and contact information on how to join. The more people students meet prior to school, the more possibilities of knowing someone to eat with during lunch.

Access Professionals

If anxiety levels reach a point of interference with daily life, students and parents can access professionals for assistance. High schools usually employ school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers. Depending on how the school student support is organized, students and parents can meet with one of the support staff to discuss the concerns. The school professional can help the family to design a specific plan to ease anxiety levels. This can include touring the school, mapping out routes to get from one class to another and planning appointments to meet with the professional on the first day.

If a school support professional is not available until school begins, parents can access outside mental health professionals or medical doctor to assist the student. These professionals should have specific training and expertise in working with adolescents. The student may need assistance with anxiety, depression, eating issues, school phobia/social anxiety, and angry outbursts. These issues should be dealt with prior to school starting and shared with the school support professionals. Also, school support professionals are not able to diagnosis mental health or medical issues but will refer families to outside resources.

Moreover, students starting high school can begin to reduce stress by writing down some of their worries. Working with a parent or school official to answer the questions or worries prior to school starting will help to understand the school process and reduce stress. The previous suggestions will also give students ideas to start off high school.




Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 September 2010 01:51  

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