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Your first day of school can be a nervous time. However, there are lots of ways that you can prepare in advance to help your first day go as smoothly as possible. On your first day, try to smile, breathe deeply, and stay positive. Within a few weeks, your new environment will seem normal and you will have forgotten your first-day jitters.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Preparing for Your First Day

  1. 1
    Locate your classes on the school map. If you are going to a big school or college, it’s really useful to know where all your classes are. Print out a map and highlight where your classes are. This will stop you from having to search for them on your first day. [1]
    • Don't be scared about being late to your classes or not knowing where your classes are. On the first day of school teachers understand that you don't yet know your schedule and will be understanding if you are late. If you are having trouble finding your classes, ask a staff member for help.
    • You will be able to find a map of your school on their website.
    • Take the map to school with you so that other people can point you in the right direction if you get lost.
  2. 2
    Check your school’s website for information about your classes. Some high schools and colleges have websites where students can log in and find messages and materials from their teachers. Log into your school’s website before the first day to see if there are any messages or special materials you will need to review.
    • For example, your teacher may have posted the syllabus for the class online. This will tell you more about the class, including your required textbooks, assignments, and the teacher’s policies.
  3. 3
    Prepare some answers to popular icebreaker questions. On your first day of school, you will most likely be asked to participate in icebreaker games. These are a great way to get to know other people in your class but can be a bit nerve-wracking if you feel shy. Practice saying your name, 2 facts about yourself, and where you are from.[2]
    • Say it a few times in front of the mirror, or practice saying it to your parents. This will help you feel more confident about talking in front of your class.
  4. 4
    Contact your friends and see if you have any of the same classes. If you already know someone at your school, ask if they have any of the same classes or lunch periods. If they do, organize to meet up before class or lunch. Having someone you know will help you to feel more comfortable in a new environment.[3]
    • Send your friends a picture of your schedule so they can compare it with their own.
  5. 5
    Go to bed early the night before. This will give you less time to worry about the next day. If you have a good sleep you are more likely to feel alert, energized, and ready to face the day. Try to have a relaxing evening and go to bed at a reasonable time.
    • Don’t try to go to bed too much earlier than usual; otherwise, you may end up lying in bed feeling anxious.[4]
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Having a Relaxed Morning

  1. 1
    Wake up early to give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Set your alarm slightly earlier than necessary so that you don’t have to rush and can take your time getting ready. That way, you can start the day feeling relaxed.[5]
    • Set your alarm the night before so that you can sleep peacefully, knowing that you will be woken at the right time.
  2. 2
    Leave early to ensure that you arrive on time. Arriving on time will save you embarrassment and will give you time to find your classroom. Leave 10 minutes early to allow extra time to navigate unexpected traffic or parking difficulties. If you arrive early, take the opportunity to take some deep breaths before walking inside.[6]
    • If your parents are taking you to school, explain to them that you would like to arrive a few minutes early.
    • If you are running late, try your best to stay calm. Most people are understanding if you are a little late on your first day.
    • If you are catching the bus, make sure you arrive at the bus stop on time so that you don’t miss the bus.
  3. 3
    Pick an outfit that makes you feel confident. Wearing something that you feel good in can help to calm your jitters and make you feel good about yourself. Choose one of your favourite shirts, or wear shoes that you love. If your school has a dress code, make sure that your outfit fits the requirements.[7]
    • Check the school website to find out if there is a dress code. If there is a uniform, this makes your outfit decision easy.
  4. 4
    Pack your bag with everything you will need for your first day. Channel your nervous energy into preparing for your first day. Being prepared will give you peace of mind that you haven’t forgotten anything. Get your bag out and write a list of everything that might be helpful for your first day. This is a great way to help ease the fear of forgetting something.[8]
    • Consider packing these: a notebook, binders, folders, a planner, pens, a laptop or tablet, paper, a drink bottle, lunch, snacks, and a jacket.
    • Organise your bag so the things you need most often (like pens) are easy to reach.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Staying Calm

  1. 1
    Listen to some calming music on the way to school. Classical piano and jazz music are shown to reduce anxiety and lower your heart rate. Turn on some calming music, or music that makes you feel positive. Focus on the music to shift your attention away from your nerves and help your mind to relax.[9]
    • Prepare a playlist of songs that make you feel great. This is a good way to boost your mood.
  2. 2
    Smile, even if you feel shy. Smiling will help you to feel more confident and positive. It will also help make you look friendlier and more approachable to others. Whenever you meet someone new, try to greet them with a smile.[10]
  3. 3
    Take some long, deep breaths when you get waves of nerves. Breathing deeply slows down your heart rate and relaxes your muscles. This is a great way to help manage your nerves. Breathe in deeply and push out your stomach. Hold the breath for 3 seconds before you breathe out.[11]
    • Keep breathing deeply until you feel more relaxed.
    • Try not to focus on feeling nervous. Instead, focus on your breathing.
  4. 4
    Think positive and encouraging thoughts. Positive and encouraging words are a great way to help you feel good about yourself and calm your anxiety. If you notice yourself feeling anxious, think some positive, encouraging thoughts in your head to help calm yourself down.[12]
    • Try phrases such as: “I’m a likable person and can make friends easily” or “I can do this”.
  5. 5
    Remember that everyone feels nervous on their first day. It’s easy to think that you are the only one who is nervous. However, most people feel pretty nervous when they are going somewhere new. Remember that everyone has experienced what you are feeling, and most people will be sympathetic to your nerves. [13]
    • Even teachers have had a first day. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help or advice.
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About This Article

Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS
Co-authored by:
Professional Counselor
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011. This article has been viewed 154,148 times.
98 votes - 80%
Co-authors: 68
Updated: August 22, 2022
Views: 154,148
Categories: Back to School
Article SummaryX

To get rid of first day of school jitters, try taking some long, deep breaths whenever you're feeling nervous by inhaling, holding for 3 seconds, and then exhaling. Also, try to smile throughout the day, even if you're feeling a little shy, since smiling can help you feel happier and more confident. Think positive, encouraging thoughts throughout the day, like "I can do this" and "I'm a likable, fun person." If you feel overwhelmed, remember that everyone gets nervous on their first day of school! To learn how to prepare for your first day so you're less nervous, read on!

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Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 154,148 times.

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  • Jasmine G.

    Jasmine G.

    Aug 6, 2017

    "I am always so nervous before the first day of school. I always feel like people are going to make fun of me or I..." more
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