Planning for Back to School: Students & Parents

Simone Koger, MA, LMFTA, CGP


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Back to School Time is Approaching! The sharpened pencils, fresh backpacks, finding out a course you want to sign up for is full- there are so many little moments that lead to recognition that the school year is coming.

One of the biggest stressors coming into the school year is how to transition from a summer schedule to a school schedule again. Time management changes. If you are experiencing stress thinking about returning to school, think about these prompts.

For Students

  • What is your ideal weekly schedule?
  • Are there support programs at your school? For me, my college had a transfer student program that allowed direct access to academic counselors and school supplies which helped me stay on track to graduate.
  • What is your learning style? Capitalize on your learning style! If you need to write things out, bring a notebook- if you are a visual learner, try to draw our diagrams of what you are learning.
  • If you break down each day into hour long segments, what would your schedule look like?
  • Are there boundaries you want to set with others? Maybe it is putting your phone on work mode when you go to class, or letting your roommate know your sleep schedule. Keeping healthy boundaries leads to less stress and more space to get things done.
  • Be kind to yourself! School can get stressful, hold space for how hard you are working.
  • What friends and clubs do you want to prioritize?
  • If you are planning for college applications, what schools are you interested in?
  • For college applications: What are their deadline and requirements?
  • If you are prepping for college or a trade job- volunteer work can be a great way to start building connections. What organizations fit this idea?
  • What helps you feel less stress? Maybe it is premaking lunches, bringing snacks, having an emotional support water bottle, writing out your school events, having check ins with your therapist, etc. Figure out some things that help you feel more balanced.

For Parents

  • Are there support resources to get supplies before your kid(s) begin school?
  • What is your "ideal" daily schedule? (Obviously with kiddos there is going to be a lot of tucking and rolling with things that pop up, having an overview of a plan can help.)
  • What are some support options for when the "plan" doesn't happen? Maybe it is getting dinner delivered, dividing chores in your house, or making suer your child has a way to contact you.
  • How is your self care? Whether your kid(s) are new to school or have been going for a while, this is a great opportunity to check in with yourself.
  • Where is there space for delegating support? (eg. after school programs, sports, collective drop offs, having childcare support, coordinating with second or third parents, etc)
  • If you are just becoming an empty nester, validate your experience! Many parents face the drastic change that happens when becoming "empty nesters". Give yourself space to process this change.

Any transition is going to come with it's own set of emotions. You might know your schedule, your roommates, your professors, and your ideal schedule. There are still going to be emotions to process about this change. If you are experiencing symptoms that are impacting your daily life try to find a therapist.

You can contact Simone here!

Cover photo by Brooke Cagle.