Back to school season can cause mixed feelings in most students and their families. There’s excitement but also a fair share of nervousness. Even before the pandemic hit, statistics show 1 in 6 kids in America were prone to anxiety issues. Here are 10 tips on how to make going back to school much easier, inshaAllah:
1 – Check Your Intentions
For Muslims, starting with the right intention is the first step for success. Make or renew your intention for going to school. Remember, doing anything for the sake of Allah becomes an act of worship. So, when going back to school, remind yourself that you’re attaining knowledge to cultivate a better world and a closer bond with Him. That’s what matters more than worldly trends or popularity.
2 – Visit School Before It Starts
Most school and college buildings are open days before the official start date. Visiting the school or campus beforehand to familiarize yourself can lessen some of the dread. Read your favorite surah before entering to create a positive association.
3 – Meet with Classmates Beforehand
Research shows that the presence of familiar friendly faces can help improve students’ academic performance and emotional adjustment during school transitions. So meet up with classmates or friends who go to the same school before it starts.
4 – Speak Up
Don’t keep your anxiety bottled up. Talk to your parents or a friend about your feelings and how they can help. Parents can get their children to share their feelings without pressure by asking indirect questions. E.g. What do you think you’ll be learning in science class this year?
5 – Feel Your Feelings Freely
Accept that starting anything for the first time is hard and that it takes time to settle into things. Your schoolmates are dealing with the same situation. Parents should validate their children’s feelings and let them know difficult things get easier with practice.
6 – Check Out Helpful Resources
Whether going back to school means dealing with bullying, racism, distress or more, experts like the Family and Youth Institute have specialized toolkits made just for you on how to tackle these difficult issues. Check them out here: thefyi.org/toolkits
7 – Own Your Muslimness
Being visibly Muslim can be hard. But it helps to change your perspective. In today’s world, so many people take pride in what makes them different or stand out. The Prophet (S) said “Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers.” Be proud to be unapologetically Muslim – someone who sticks to their principles through thick and thin!
8 – Join a Muslim Student Association (or Start One)
Look for a Muslim Student Association in school or on campus to find like-minded new friends. They will also likely have accommodations for things like prayer spaces. If none exists, think about banding with fellow Muslims students to start your own. MSA National explains how here: msanational.org/resources
9 – Find A Mentor
Getting advice from an experienced and encouraging mentor or youth leader can be life-changing. Find a mentor and youth group at a MAS chapter near you: masnational.org
10 – Make Du’a
Du’a is one of the most powerful tools for a believer. Make du’a for ease, good teachers and friends, a safe learning environment and anything else you need. Have full faith that your prayer will be answered in the best possible way because you asked the One who has power over everything.
We hope these pointers ease some of the tension when it comes to back to school season. Is there anything missing you would add to the list?