Fighting Back-to-School Blues Season


New and current students are once again faced with warding off anxiety over returning to classes.

With the semester in full swing, a palpable sense of anxiety pervades the minds of many students across campus—it’s back-to-school blues season. 

This switch to a heavier workload and adjusting to a new schedule might put some students in an uncomfortable position, one they might not be able to deal with alone.

Hera Baboudjian, a registered social worker in Quebec, said that anxiety over returning to the academic grind is common well into a person’s adulthood.

“It’s managing the workload while dealing with relationships—family or otherwise—and coming back to that can be hard,” Baboudjian said. “In a way, it’s like entering a mini-society and everyone has their role to deal with.”

Baboudjian explained academic stress manifests differently from one person to another. Different students come from situations independent from their academic lives. As such, dealing with these same issues is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Griffin Reed, a first-year music student, said he wasn’t looking forward to his first day on campus. “I was completely nervous. It’s a new campus, new faces, new everything,” Reed said. “I did not know there were like five buildings I had to find.” 

He was filled with dread over navigating his long commute from the Laurentides. He turned to one of his only comforts, listening to music during his ride.

Reed expressed an interest in Concordia’s Zen Dens, which offer mental health services and peer support. However, Reed said his classes were ultimately not as stressful as he thought. “I think it’ll just take time,” added Reed. “I can still see the Zen Dens usefulness.” 

Alternatively, Concordia’s health and wellness page offers tools and guides a student can refer to during times of stress, a resource Baboudjian recommended as well. 

She believes the first steps a person should take to fight their anxiety is to get organized, set realistic goals for themselves and find resources to help them.

More experienced students such as Yasmine Bakeeso, a second-year student in marketing, have acclimated to the stress that comes from returning to classes.

“You can’t be too hard on yourself. Even if you’re not at the place you want to be right now, you won’t regret giving it your best,” Bakesso explained. 

Despite having a full year of university under her belt, Bakesso anticipates the coming semester might take a toll on her mental health. As such, she considered reaching out to available specialists on campus, should the need for counseling arise.

Alessio Cipriano-Kardous, a third-year computer science student, said that he sympathizes with students who get nervous over a new semester. Working part-time as an IT technician, he’s no stranger to dealing with a lot on his plate. 

“It gets exhausting. I’ve learned to cope by giving myself the time to organize myself every week,” he explained. “The people who get used to it seem like the exception, but they don’t have to be.”


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