Back to School … Learning and Survival
August 2007 Online Feature
Henry Ward Beecher, a 19th century American preacher, once said, “Learning is not compulsory ... neither is survival.” Another way to say this is that no one forces us to learn, and no one forces us to survive … but none of us would argue that learning and surviving in this world are two things we all need to do!
As summer starts to wind down, the anxiety associated with school, the “world of learning,” can make surviving the daily routine a challenge for some of us. Fall and a new school year is a time of transition and adjustment. Even those of us who aren’t students, teachers or parents experience a sort of indirect, back-to-school stress. The stores are busier, traffic gets a bit more congested and our work commute might take a little longer. This time of year might also stir up a bit of sadness or dread, as we realize that the green and sunshine of summer will soon give way to fall and cooler, shorter days.
Of course, back-to-school stress most intensely affects teachers, students and parents. It affects young children entering school for the first time, and their parents, who must adjust to a completely new lifestyle. Students changing grade levels face a transition—for example, those moving from grade school to the new academic and social pressures of junior high or high school, as well as young adults headed into their first year of college or older people going back to school for the first time in years. School stress also takes it toll on parents trying to manage their kids’ schedules of homework, after-school activities, carpools, as well as teachers who face the anxiety of getting to know throngs of new students, coming up with new lesson plans or lectures and teaching their material in a way that makes sense to their classes.
Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, offers some suggestions to survive this seasonal stress. Keeping these things in mind can make “learning and surviving” at this time of year a little easier. And many of the tips make a lot of sense for those of us who might not be directly affected by the new school season but who are transitioning into a new job, city, etc.
“Helping Kids Manage Back-to-School Stress.” Linda Bearinger, BSN, MS, PhD.
APA’s Stress Smarts Quiz
Previous Monthly Features
January 2007 : Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
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