Coping with school and college
School or college can be really enjoyable, but it can also be really tough. It’s a big part of your life and you spend a lot of time there, so it’s very normal to feel anxious, stressed or worried about it sometimes. The main thing to remember is that whatever you are experiencing you aren't alone, and it’s completely okay to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
Lots of you will have spent longer than usual away from school because of coronavirus, so this year going back to school might feel like even more of an adjustment that usual. Things might look or feel a bit different, and you might feel more worried about it than you have before.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most common concerns that you might have once you’re back at school, and some ideas on how you can cope with them...
Having problems with friendships can be really tough, and you might not know how to deal with it…
- Drifting apart is normal if your interests change, or if someone changes school.
- It’s okay not to get along with everyone in your friendship group, as long as you aren’t unpleasant to each other.
- Being in the middle of friends fighting can be frustrating - it’s okay to tell them how you feel.
- If you’ve fallen out with a friend or made them feel bad, it's important to be able to apologise and respect them if they need some time or space.
- If a friend has made you feel bad, it’s okay to tell them how you feel. They might have taken their stress out on you, or it might be that they need help to recognise the difference between ‘banter’ and being nasty.
You can find more advice on friendships here.
It can be hard making friends, and sometimes we all do things to ‘fit in’, like listening to the same music or wearing the same type of clothes – but it’s okay to say “no” if you don’t want to do something…
If you feel under pressure to do something you aren’t comfortable with – like smoking, drinking or taking drugs, picking on someone or skipping school, remember you don’t have to take part.
It can be difficult to say ‘no’ to your friends, so here are some things that can help:
- Plan ahead – think about what you might do or say in different situations.
- Tell them how you feel, and explain why you don’t want to do something. Try to be assertive.
- Show that you respect their choice, and they are more likely to respect yours.
- Suggest doing something else.
Your friends should respect your choices, and if they don’t there will be lots of other people out there who will share your views. You can always talk to someone you trust, like another friend, teacher or family member.
Bullying is when somebody hurts you physically or verbally. It can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time, and it can happen to anyone - but it is never your fault...
Bullying can make you feel alone, worthless, anxious and angry. If you’re being bullied, it’s important to tell someone you trust (like a teacher, school nurse or your parents) what’s happening so they can support you.
You could ask a friend to come with you if you don’t feel ready to do it by yourself, or ask someone in your family to help you explain what’s happening to a teacher. You can also talk to your GP if bullying is impacting your health, and they will keep anything you say confidential.
You can find more advice on bullying here.
Adjusting to a new routine
It can be difficult to get back into a routine after the summer holidays, especially when there has been an extra-long break because of coronavirus…
Here are some of our tips to help you get back into the groove:
- Try and get a good night's sleep – if you feel tired it will affect your mood and make focusing on lessons harder. Do things before bed that help you relax and unwind (like taking a bath, reading a book and putting your phone away).
- Get ready the night before – pack your school bag the night before so you don’t have to rush around in the morning.
- Remember it’s okay to take a break and have some down time after school. Try and set aside the time to do any homework, then take some time to chill out.
Homework and exams
Homework and exams are a part of going to school, but it can be stressful if you’re worried about keeping up, getting back into a routine after the summer holidays, or if you don’t understand something…
There are some things you can do to make it a bit easier:
- Try not to leave it until the last minute - give yourself plenty of time to do your homework or revise. If you feel like you have too much to do, try making a bit of a schedule to help you plan your time and stay on track. And you are allowed breaks!
- Look after your mind and your body! We’ve shared our top tips on practising ‘self-care’ here.
- Ask for help if you need it. It’s okay not to understand something straight away, and your teachers are there to help you learn. They might be able to explain something in a new way, or give you a bit of extra support. You could also try asking friends or siblings (they might have done the same subject!), or you parents/carers.
- Don’t compare yourself to your friends – everyone has different ways of learning. It’s important to focus on your own goals, and do what works for you.
- Remember to try your best!
What to do if you're worried about a friend
We all want to be there for our friends, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or do to help them…
It’s a good idea to get advice from an adult you trust, like a parent or teacher. It can be stressful supporting someone else, so it’s important you have support too.
If your friend is struggling with their mental health, you can:
- Let them know you will listen if they want to talk, but don’t put pressure on them. Just spending time with them can help.
- Don’t mention it in front of other people – they might not be comfortable with other people knowing how they feel
- Help them get support from a parent, teacher, doctor or other support service
There is more advice on what to do if you are worried about a friend here.
What to do if you're worried about coronavirus
Coronavirus has had a big impact on our lives, and you might be worried about how it will affect you when you are back at school…
You might be worried about catching the virus, or about all the new rules (like wearing masks and social distancing).
Things that might help:
- Talk to an adult you trust, or talk to your friends – it can be good to know you aren’t on your own and you might be able to reassure each other.
- Remember its okay to ask about new rules if you get confused – especially as they can change.
- Although some things have changed, focus on the things that have stayed the same that you enjoy about school – seeing your friends, favourite subjects etc.
If you feel like you need some extra support, there are lots of free, confidential services that can help…
We’ve made a list of everything you need to know here.