Tips for taking jitters out of returning to school

Published: August 18, 2012

Dear Emily,

What’s your best advice on back-to-school shopping as for clothing and supplies?

Dear Shopper,

It’s crazy to think that school is around the corner. Before you go shopping for back-to-school supplies and clothing, sit down and write a list of things that you need. Often without thinking you’ll have extras of stuff around your home and won’t need to go out and buy more. When you are shopping for school supplies, keeping your materials organized is key. Something I find helpful when shopping is color-coding my folders and binders for the subject they belong to.

Normally, I go out and by lots of the $1 folders and a binder for each subject. This can go for guys as well — I make sure my brothers’ folders are color-coded too. Shopping for school supplies should be a fast and easy task. At times when supply shopping, there are a lot of tempting impulse buys. Do you really need that purple sparkle eraser or is it just going to sit at the bottom of your pencil case?

As for shopping for school clothing, make a list just like you did for supplies. Only write down the things you need. By the end of summer, your favorite white shirt may have ketchup and grease stains on it, so go to a store that has a variety of everything and get the necessities. After buying the necessities, getting a few fun things to spark up your wardrobe won’t hurt. Find a first-day-of-school outfit that you feel confident and good in. Overall, simple and thrifty is key when getting ready for school.

Dear Emily,

I’m going to be a freshman this year, and I’m very nervous for the first day. I’m most nervous for my classes and getting lost. What can I do to calm my nerves?

Dear Freshman,

I still get nervous for the first day of school. It’s normal to be nervous; everyone is, no matter how much some may deny it. Everyone is going to be just as confused and anxious when walking into the school. The majority don’t have a clue of what they are doing or where they’re going. It’s normal. There are definitely some things to help you feel a lot better when you’re walking into high school the first day. Before the school year starts, take a hard look at your schedule and make sure that you understand and have a good idea of what classes you have. One of the most helpful things I did in the summer when I was an incoming freshman was go into the school and walk through my schedule and find all my classes. I walked through each period and did it until I felt comfortable. I also printed out a map of my school and highlighted the classes I was in. I then looked over it a few times until I was confident with getting around.

As for classes, you just have to make sure you’re organized and open-minded to new opportunities. Usually high school will give you an overwhelming amount of amazing chances and you will learn a lot. Always remember that you’re not the only freshman; everyone is on the same page as you and is just as nervous. Asking one of your pals or someone you don’t know in passing about where to go or what to do is completely normal. Everyone is open-minded once you get to high school. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Emily Chertow is a high school student in central Pennsylvania who writes a monthly column offering advice from the point of view of a teenager. You can send questions to her at or mail them to Ask Emily, c/o Centre Daily Times, 3400 E. College Ave., State College, PA 16801.