Do you remember what it felt like on the first day of school when you were a kid? The nerves and anticipation of a new experience are something we’ve all felt at some point.
For adult learners who are returning to a classroom for the first time in a while, the anxiety around the first day of school might be amplified. Maybe you are returning to a program you never had a chance to finish, or pursuing a brand new degree altogether.
No matter the circumstances, the classroom environment may look a little different and feel a bit more intimidating than the last time you went on your first day of school. And your learning situation has changed too – you might be balancing school with a full-time job and/or family responsibilities.
No matter how long you have been out of school, a good plan will help you manage the challenges of this new experience. Don’t let the first-day jitters deter you from approaching the upcoming school year with enthusiasm and confidence. Prepare for the first day with these helpful tips that will combat those pesky first days of school nerves:
Don’t Psych Yourself Out
When you’re a bit nervous about your first day, remind yourself of why you are pursuing a degree and feel proud of the commitment you’ve made. Everyone gets nervous from time to time, but you are capable of countering those nerves and channeling them into motivation for the school year. Get out of your head and get excited — you can do this!
Put your mind at ease by familiarizing yourself with your schedule before you start. Consider purchasing a planner to stay organized, regardless of the class is in-person or online. Most professors will provide you with a syllabus and class schedule by the first day of school. Adding those important dates and deadlines to the planner will help keep you on track for success. Strong time management skills will help you feel confident that you are staying on top of things, and reduce the stress of handling your course load. Balancing work and school is a common challenge for new students, and anticipating these challenges on the first day of school will make all the difference.
Looking to take an online class? Full online or hybrid learning has become an important option for students who need a flexible schedule. However, adjusting to an online course load is not always seamless and can be difficult if you’ve not been in a classroom environment for a while. Anticipate the new challenges that come with remote and hybrid learning. Get familiar with the format in which your class will be held. Don’t open your laptop for the first time on day 1; make sure you are comfortable and confident with navigating online learning experiences.
Look for Connections
Something to remember during the first day of school is that you are not the only one who may be nervous about starting something new. You are not alone! Saying hello to your peers, whether it’s in person or virtually, is an ideal way to ease first-day anxiety. Find comfort in the shared experience of attending new classes. It is also beneficial to introduce yourself to your instructors — they are there to help! Communication is key to any good relationship, including teacher-student. When you extend yourself, you can build confidence that you have instructors and classmates who are on your team and want to see you succeed. Also, universities such as Herzing offer comprehensive student support services to rely on before the first day of school and beyond.
Above all, keep a positive attitude as you go into the new school year. While the first day of school nerves are normal, don’t let them keep you from putting your best foot forward. You are in control of your experience, and with the right attitude, you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. Here’s to a great semester!