If you or a loved one were taken out of school to complete a program at a rehabilitation center, and have recently completed your program or are scheduled to complete it soon, congratulations! It is a huge accomplishment to have made it to this point. Beginning a life in sobriety is difficult, but it can be even more challenging when you throw going back to school into the mix. Luckily, we have compiled a list of tips on what to do prior to your return which you can complete for yourself or a loved one to set the returning student up for success.
Confront Fear Head On
You or your child may be feeling internal fear about going back to school after rehab. There are so many different aspects to consider. Will you be able to fit in while staying sober? Will the workload be too much to handle? Will you want to drop out?
Often, during a person’s period in addiction, tactics such as isolation, manipulation, and secrecy are used to keep an addiction alive. For this reason, creating “authentic” friendships and relationships may seem daunting.
It is important to remember that no situation is perfect. You may stumble and fall from time to time, but creating relationships will eventually happen naturally. Many college campus’ actually have on-campus sober living clubs, which is a fantastic way to make friends who will empathize with exactly what you are going through.
It is also recommended to take a smaller class load during your first semester back at school after rehab. This way, you will be able to ease back into school and relieve some stress while doing so.
Speak With a School Counselor
Some schools have specific counselors to handle students returning to school after periods away. Other schools will simply have a general counselor on staff to handle student concerns. In any case, it is important to speak with a counselor prior to your return to school.
Not only will a school counselor be able to offer advice on courses to take, but they often will have school-specific suggestions on clubs to join, or other extra-curricular activities you can take part in so that you feel involved in the school scene.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Before heading off to school, have a planner in which to write down your daily schedule. Although it may seem mundane to jot down your entire schedule, it has been researched that prior addicts have a higher chance at sober success when they stick to a daily itinerary. A planner is great for writing down daily notes, too. If your teacher mentions an on-campus film night, you can jot this down in your planner as a reminder to attend.
Look over your course schedule and head to the store to pick up binders, notebooks, pens, a backpack, and anything else you think you’ll need. It is always good to glance over the course itineraries ahead of time so that you are prepared for the material that will be covered.
If you feel like it will benefit you, many recovering students reach out to their professors and let them know about their situation. This is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with.
Finally, don’t forget that it is totally acceptable to be excited. You are turning over a new leaf in life and working towards completing your education so that you can go on to live an enjoyable and successful life. Take things at your own pace, but make sure to have fun as you go through school. It will be an experience you remember forever.