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Stress May Accompany A New School Year

Administration, Dr. Brescia

James J. Brescia, Ed.D.

County Superintendent of Schools

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~Leo Tolstoy~

A new school year, new job, new living arrangement, and even a new relationship can cause stress. For many, the fall means back to school, a return to routine, or time to begin a new term. Some view the fall as a chance to make a fresh start or an opportunity to make new friends. However, individuals with challenges such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, and depression, may find transitions difficult. These transitions can be particularly challenging for individuals with mental health concerns because they can struggle with friendships, may have difficulty relating to teachers, or may experience feelings of discontent. If you have a loved one, friend, colleague, or acquaintance that is dealing with a mental health issue, there are ways you can assist with transitions (Barber B. K. & Olson J. A. 2004).

For many, preschool, elementary, middle, and high school transitions to a different school can signify social and educational development. Regular transitive events such as puberty, changing schools, making friends, and accepting more autonomy are considered part of the typical progression to adulthood and independence. However, research indicates that there is interpersonal stress experienced by all individuals during times of transition. Often the physical environment in which the change occurs is larger in size and expectations. When compared to the smaller, single-teacher environment of an elementary school, students at the middle or high school experience multiple teachers and differing expectations. Individuals transitioning to the workplace, technical schools or college may move to entirely different cities. In contrast to the psychosocial needs of the developing adolescents making these transitions, bigger environments can be less personal, more controlling, and require different levels of cognitive skills than those necessary in smaller settings (Eccles et al., 1993; Simmons, Burgerson, Carlton-Ford, & Blyth, 1987). These disconnects can occur at all levels of schooling and different points in life.

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