March 30, 2020
Getting back into school after having mental health and/or substance use issues can be a difficult time. However, the best part about having completed your treatment is that you have new skills and habits to help you be even more successful. You have also learned to communicate better, which includes advocating for yourself and your needs. Whether your needs are related to your mental health, or they are related to a learning disability, or whatever, you can conquer school with confidence.
When you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or substance use, just getting to school every day can be too much. Now you’ve gone through this episode, and maybe you even did things you regret that people at school may know about. Or perhaps even just the stigma associated with your episode or with your treatment makes it hard for you to show your face.
But you are brave. No matter how hard it is to show up every day, you’ve got this. Your showing up shows who you are, and also tells others that it can be done. How many others have watched you from a distance, have seen your struggles, and now see you’re strong and powerful, showing up? Your courage and commitment blesses not only your own life, but also others around you.
Building Good Habits
Now that you have good habits of caring for your mental health, you can build good habits for school, too. Many of the habits you have been working on – getting good sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly will help you to be more prepared for school and help your mind function at optimum levels.
Your school habits can include getting to class on time, being sure you have your books, paper, devices, and other supplies, keeping track of assignments, taking notes, and completing homework assignments or other work. You can have a designated spot at home for all of your school things, and you can come up with a way to remember to turn in all of your work, too.
Every teacher has probably told you all of these things since you were young, but every single one of these habits makes a difference in your success in school. In the same way that keeping all of your mental health care habits is the best way to maintain your mental health, keeping good habits in school is the best way to help you succeed.
School may seem easy for some people, but even the best students have to work hard. Regardless of where your grades have been, your hard work will help you to get the grades that you know you deserve. Be gentle with yourself if you are just coming out of treatment, and know that it may still be difficult for you to focus or pay attention all the time. Give yourself small breaks every 20-30 minutes when you are working to get up, walk around for a minute, and give your brain a chance to focus again. By sticking with your assignments and not giving up, you will demonstrate your commitment to your success.
Asking for Help
If you are still struggling after you have shown up, kept good habits, and worked hard, then never be afraid to ask for help. Many teachers offer tutoring or conference hours that you can work directly with them and ask questions. There are often peer tutors on campus as well, and many schools have other tutoring options for those who need help.
You may also find that you need more than just tutoring. Some people still struggle with reading or writing, others don’t always process what they hear correctly, and some are simply unable to focus at all. Sometimes, these symptoms indicate that you may have a learning disability. You can ask your school psychologist or counselor to test you for these, and then they can help make a plan to support your learning.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as just asking the instructor if you can record the lecture so that you can listen to it again if you missed parts of it or didn’t understand something. Or maybe you have vision issues, and need to sit closer to the board. There are so many challenges that you can have that can impair your studies, but you can ask for help. Most teachers are very supportive when you ask for help, because they want to see you succeed.
Success is More than Numbers
Be realistic about the grades you are trying to achieve. If you have never gotten an A in your life, is it realistic to think that you will get straight A’s right away? Also, keep in mind that scores and grades are just numbers. Your success is based on who you are and improving your personal best. For every perfect student, hundreds and thousands make them look good. Many of them working harder and faced with equal or greater life challenges. It is okay to be part of the supporting cast, as long as you deliver your best performance.
You have all the skills, you’re building all the habits, and now is your chance to shine. Your belief in yourself will help you conquer school and achieve your very best.
You can conquer school with confidence. Call Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 if you need support. You rocked treatment, and now you can rock this, too.