Education view: How to deal with those return-to-college fears

NewVIc principal, Mandeep Gill, reassures students going back to college.

NewVIc principal, Mandeep Gill, reassures students going back to college. - Credit: Archant

Amidst a global pandemic, feelings of uncertainty and fear about returning to college are held by us all.

While this year’s transition back to college is different, our priority is to help our students, parents and staff feel optimistic.

Have honest and open discussions

What you resist, persists. It’s important that we share how we are feeling and encourage honest, factual and open conversations about Covid-19 and its implications for returning to college.

Take some time to read your school or college’s risk assessment and understand the many steps they have taken to make the site safer.

For us this includes one way systems, staggered lunch breaks, hand sanitising, automatic temperature checking and site wide antiviral misting.

Name fears to tame fears

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Trying to identify what the specific concern is can help bring understanding to our feelings. We mustn’t hold conversations in – acknowledging and sharing concerns with others will reduce anxiety.

How often we all think to ourselves: “I feel so much better now that that is off my chest.” Naming the thing that you’re worrying about is the first step in figuring out a way forward.

Focus on things going well

Motivating ourselves to focus on things we might be looking forward to can help reduce our worries.

After lockdown, we are all craving some sort of normality.

For instance, many of us might be looking forward to seeing our friends, teachers and colleagues in person.

Others may take pride in fostering a new daily routine which minimises Covid-related risks.

New students joining us will be in a new situation, studying new subjects and enthusiastic about the courses they’ve chosen. Returning students may be excited to get involved in sport and enrichment activities that were cut short last year.

We all share the same fears about Covid and must work together to reduce our anxiety.

By listening to each other and validating our worries, learning coping strategies, reviewing our safety protocols and supporting each other when things are difficult, we can figure a way forward together.

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