Reducing Back To School Stress: For Parents And College Students

Reducing Back To School Stress: For Parents And College Students

How to reduce those back to school jitters

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Many kids (and parents) are feeling mounting anxiety over the approach of a new school year. From hectic mornings to last-minute projects, the many activities that make up the busy schedules of the school year can be tough on both parents and students, causing at times intense stress and anxiety. If you're in college or starting college as a freshman, you'll need to learn how to adjust on your own. Here are five ways you can lessen stress, both as a family and on your own as you enter the stages of young adulthood:

Start Early to Prevent Sleep Loss or Insomnia

Over the summer, most families take their cues from the sun and stay up later. While it may be tempting to keep the late-night fun going up until the end, starting your school routine a few weeks early can help ease the transition back to school. Two to three weeks before the advent of school, begin going to bed and getting up earlier and try to eat on a more regular schedule as well. This advice isn't just for little kids; teens and adults need quality sleep for proper functioning as well and getting your schedule straight now will help prevent insomnia or sleep deprivation when school starts. Good rest can help your child better manage stress on the first day.

Get to School Early

While we're on the topic of starting early, it's a good idea to visit or arrive on campus a week or so before the first day. Note to parents: for kids who are going to be first-timers for kindergarten, first grade, middle school or even high school, this can help them feel more comfortable with the new place and get a better idea of where to go once they're there. Even for returning students, it doesn't hurt to know where the classroom is, say hello to whatever staff is there getting ready and start getting excited about going back.

For college students, this will help students feel a whole lot more comfortable before the start of school, and help ease back to school jitters. Get to school a week and change before orientation or the start of classes to feel more confident about going back to school. You'll be surprised at how much better and more settled in it'll make you feel to just get to campus a few days before everyone else does.

Ask Around

If you're a parent with young children, it's a good idea to ensure that there's at least one friend in the class or classes your child will be attending. If classes are assigned without your input, talk to other parents and try to find out who your child will be sharing a class with ahead of time, and let them know. Knowing who is in their class will give them something else to look forward to, and remind them of what they enjoy about school. If your child is entering kindergarten or first grade, it might be a good idea to have a playdate with one of the children who will be in their class a week before school starts to help them feel more comfortable and get more excited about seeing their friends again in school. If you're new to the area or don't know anyone, try checking out the school's social media pages to find other parents and kids.

If you're a freshman just starting out at college, reach out to the couple of people that you've met before getting to campus. Ask around and see if they're interested in the same subjects as you, and see if they're taking any of the introductory classes you are because they're bound to be in at least one similar freshman intro-class as you.

If you're a returning college student, you've been through this process at least once before, and you basically know the drill. Even though you're familiar with the process, though, there's always some anxiety revolving around classes and not knowing exactly who's in them. In short: ask around. You know who's pursuing what at this point, and I can promise you that you'll know at least one person in your classes, or if not in your exact class, then in another section with the same professor. You'll be just fine! You're a pro already, after all.

Get Ready

For parents, back to school shopping is something essential for your child or children to be eased back into school. Back to school shopping may help your child get excited about the new school year. If your child really couldn't care less about shopping, you can make it quick and painless, but for kids who relish the annual decisions of which clothes, backpacks, and other supplies to choose, it can be an easy way to ease your child into the new year.

Along these lines, have fun preparing your child's study area. It's important to that your child has a comfortable, quiet place to study. You may also want to get your routines ready; as you get back onto an earlier schedule, have your kids start laying out their clothes the night before, keeping their shoes by the door and get back into other morning habits that help you get out the door with less hassle. This can help refine your routine and make the back to school transition easier.

For college kids, get your stuff BEFORE classes. Seriously. Barnes and Noble can only supply so much to you when every single student waits until the first or second day of classes to get all of the standards back to school notebooks and pencils.

Talk to One Another

Parents: one of the best ways to relieve back to school anxiety and prepare for the coming year is to simply talk to your child about what he or she may be feeling. When the subject of school comes up, let your child tell you what's exciting about school as well as what may be a little anxiety-provoking. If your child expresses some negativity about school, don't discount immediately his or her concerns; instead, focus on validating feelings. Then you can help find solutions or shift the focus to a more positive one like seeing friends, covering exciting new material and growing up. This can be an excellent time to discuss important topics like how to handle bullies, peer pressure, and other important topics. Creating open lines of communication lets your child know that you'll be available for support.

The main thing to remember in dealing with back to school jitters is to be prepared mentally and logistically. Know what to expect and be prepared, and have a plan to keep things manageable. Then follow that plan. If you show your enthusiasm for what the new school year brings, your kids are sure to pick up on it and the nervous energy will turn into excitement.

College pros: talk to yourself. You know the process already, and if you're a freshman, I can promise you, you'll have the whole college thing down in a week or less. Trust me when I say, you'll figure it out, and there's always someone at your school exactly like you. It's just a matter of time until you find your person. To all those froshes out there: good luck. To all upperclassmen: good luck, but I'm not worried about ya. To all my fellow seniors: Let's do this one last time, and do it right.

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Profit Over The People

Diversity comes in various forms; whether it be culturally or fiscally, there are several ways to identify people as similar or different. The city of Miami, FL loves to advertise its diversity when it comes to attracting tourists, yet it is choosing profit over its people.

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The google definition for gentrification is "the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste." Which seems extremely palatable, but the gross and harsh reality is that gentrification is the destruction of housing in impoverished areas to then construct neighborhoods of higher value. And in that process, the homes, memories, and culture of those areas are erased off the face of the earth as if they never existed.

The residents of these homes do receive compensation for giving up their homes, but not nearly enough to find an alternative housing solution. This has been the case for the city of Miami for quite some time now; placing shopping malls and luxury condominiums on top of the memories and homes of families that have resided in the same area for decades on end.

According to the 2015 and 2016 census, Miami ranks second worst in the nation for income and poverty levels, yet officials deem it appropriate to further the expansion of luxury living and attraction by ridding of the low-income communities. The homeless population in the city of Miami has been a major concern for years; but instead of addressing said issue, they are simply contributing to it by further permitting these expansions to occur.

These construction projects not only contribute to pre-existing traffic problem in the city of Miami due to overpopulation but leaves those who once had a home, out on the streets. There is a total of 179,200 households in Miami-Dade County, 44% of those house children under the age of 18 years old and the household poverty rate in Miami- Dade County was 21.3%, according to the 2013 ACS.

What are the odds of there being households that fall under both of those categories; not only is gentrification putting paying citizens out on the streets, but their children as well.

Allowing the private agendas of public officials affect our neighbors in such a manner is merciless. A large part of Miami consists of low-income areas, yet they have been falling off the map little by little over time. They are starting from the bottom up, and what once was considered a middle-class community will soon be deemed a low-income area in comparison to new structures.

When will it stop? The living expenses in Miami are already unmanageable, but if this continues Miami will soon lose all of its original residences and cultures. Left in the remains of a once culturally thriving and accepting community will be a playground for the wealthy, built on the soil of what used to be home to a culturally, economically and experientially diverse community.

The unfortunate matter is that this isn't only happening in the city of Miami, but in various large cities across the country. Pushing low-income housing off the map, contributing to the homeless population, to then drive initiatives to relocate the homeless if they are found in affluent neighborhoods.

How can one rise to the occasion in hopes of creating a better life, if they are constantly being pushed down by institutionalized prevention? Gentrification is a national issue; a country that prides itself on opportunity and progress is slowly evolving into a country for the wealthy.

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