JED’s Summer Interns Share Tips for Reducing Back to School Stress

We’re The Jed Foundation’s interns! As the summer winds down and fall approaches, we know it can often feel stressful and overwhelming to get ready for the school year.

One way to reduce back-to-school anxiety and experience a more seamless transition into the new school year is to actively organize and prepare yourself, mentally and academically, for the upcoming semester.

In order to help with this, we prepared a Back to School Essentials List, which you can find below. It highlights helpful tips from our own personal experiences to get organized and ease nerves about the transition back to school.

We’ve had such an amazing experience working at JED this summer.  Mental health is an omnipresent issue, no matter who you are, and we have learned so much about the tools to help equip students, families, and communities to seek and give help and to spread awareness.

We hope our tips will help you prepare for the upcoming academic year. Have a great semester!

All the best,

Abby, Alana, Alexa, Azada, Davis, Ella, Melissa and Savannah
JED’s Summer Interns 2018



Here we are presenting one of our final projects!

Back to School Essentials List

Take Care of Yourself


Get on a regular sleep and exercise schedule 
“Making sure that I get on a consistent, healthy sleep and exercise schedule before going back to school is really important for me. I feel less stress when I’m well-rested, and exercise boosts my energy, endorphins and makes me feel productive. It’s much easier to wake up for those 8am classes when I’ve gone to bed at a reasonable hour the night before!”
— Savannah, Claremont McKenna College

Do Some Research

Locate exactly where your classes are on your school map, especially if your campus is large
“If your school has a big campus, it can be pretty overwhelming to figure out where all of your classes are and make sure you get to them on time in the first couple weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask older students or your RA for help, they went through it too. Maybe even ask someone you know to do a walking tour through campus with you, or take the time to do it by yourself before classes start.”
— Davis, The University of Alabama

Research your teachers prior to the first day of classes
“It’s always been helpful for me to ask older students about their experiences with my soon-to-be teachers to get a sense of the difficulty level of assignments, and expectations for the class.”
— Savannah, Claremont McKenna College

Get Connected

If you have a new roommate, reach out to them to introduce yourself and coordinate who’s bringing what
“I actually just so happened to run into my roommate at Bed, Bath, and Beyond during move-in when we were shopping for stuff for our room. Luckily, we were able to plan out all of the communal things we needed to get for our room. But probably would’ve been a good idea to discuss it beforehand.”
— Melissa, Tulane University

If you’re a first-year student…reach out to other first-years! They know what you’re going through
“Don’t be afraid to speak to other students. Chances are they are just as nervous, uncomfortable and new to this as you are. They can also make your first years of college your best years.”
— Alana, City College of New York

Get Organized

Order your textbooks and supplies before the semester begins
“It’s always a good idea to pre-order your textbooks and other school supplies, that way when you start classes you already have everything you need and can just focus on your new assignments. And you beat the lines in the bookstore!”
— Melissa, Tulane University

Use a planner
“Keeping a planner helps to reduce some of my stress when it comes to homework and making sure I get everything done on time. Writing down what I have to do day-by-day for the week helps to keep me organized and motivated!”
— Abby, Fieldston High School

Review and make note of important dates on your syllabus
“Check your syllabus at the beginning of the semester and make sure you know when all your major assignments are due. Mark them in a calendar so they don’t catch you by surprise later on!”
— Ella, University of St Andrews

Use Available Resources

Schedule a meeting with your advisor to touch base 
“It’s always a good idea to meet with your advisor before each semester starts so that you’re not caught off guard by a random credit or requirement that you need when senior year comes around…and try to get requirements out of the way in your first couple years!”
— Alexa, Tulane University

Visit your career center
“The career center can show you how to manage your time and balance social life with academics. My career center helped me make my schedule for the full year. That really helped me because I knew exactly what classes I had to take for my major.”
— Azada, Meredith College

Learn more about preparing for the transition out of high school to college and adulthood at Set To Go!

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.