Going to secondary school is very exciting – there is a new building, uniform, new friends, teachers and lots of opportunities to try new subjects and activities. But it can also be a bit daunting, even to those who aren’t heading into first year. This year it’s even more confusing, after months off and new rules due to the pandemic, we’ll all be feeling a bit weird about it all.

And thats okay.

It will all be okay.

The key to a less than traumatic transition back to school is to be organised. It really does reduce the stress levels hugely, as well as any feelings of panic or anxiousness.

After a couple of weeks, muscle memory will kick back in, as it always does, and you’ll find your groove again, but in the meantime, we’re here to help.

We have created a checklist for you to refer to each night before school to make sure you have everything you need. Write it on a page and stick it on the back of your bedroom door, or on the fridge, and Bobs your uncle.

1. Have I finished all my homework and ticked it off in my school journal?


Whether you are new to secondary school or just a little bit rusty, having your homework done for every class is so important. As you get the hang of your new timetable, you may realise you can leave a piece of homework for a night or two, until you have the class the next day. But try to avoid that if possible, as you might forget, or get distracted by a new season of Outer Banks.

2. Is my full uniform hanging up and ready for tomorrow morning?


Or is it at least in my room – possibly in a ball on the floor? Or on “the chair” (everyone has a chair right?). Can I put my hand to it as soon as I wake up? A great start, things can only go up from here, right?

3. Have I checked tomorrow’s timetable and made sure I have all the right books, copies, and my school journal?


Your school journal will be your best friend! You can keep track of everything in that little book. Try to double-check what books you will need for tomorrow so you won’t accidentally leave a book or homework at home. There is nothing worse than having your homework done, only to open your bag in class and find that it’s not there!

4. Is my school bag packed and ready to go?


Do you have everything ready so that you can get the most amount of time possible in your bed? 10 minutes the night before will be worth the extra 10 minutes in bed! All you gotta do then is grab your bag and go!

5. Do I need any extra bits and bobs for practical classes – PE Gear, Art Materials, Home Economics Ingredients?


We know we’re not the only ones guilty of forgetting our PE gear or home ec stuff and having to call our very busy mam and have her drop the stuff to the school (and then face the death glare that comes along with it).

6. Is there anything I need to return to school/teachers – permission slips, library books?


Here’s where your journal will come in handy again! Instead of throwing notes into the bottomless pit that is your school bag, try popping that note into your journal on the week you are in. That way, when you open it up to do homework, the note is looking at you.

7. Do I have my locker key, swipe card, lunch card etc?


You will forever remember realising you forgot your locker key and having to get the maintenance man to cut your lock. Not what you want to deal with first thing in the morning! Even worse is forgetting lunch and not having money to get some food. You can save yourself all this bother by just having a little check before you head off that you have all the essentials (and by essentials we definitely want to include food, no one wants to be hangry, especially in school).

8. Is my lunch made and ready for the morning?


Again, would you rather have an extra 10 minutes in bed in the morning? Why not make your lunch every night before school so you can just pop it into your bag in the morning! Our personal favourites? Pesto Pasta. That’s real brain food right there.

9. Have I set my alarm for the right time?


It will probably happen to you at some stage but the worst thing is your alarm not going off! You start your whole day off on the wrong foot. Try taking just a minute or two in the nighttime to make sure you have your alarm set at the right time! If you want to be extra careful, you can always set an alarm on a second device.

10. Do I have a mask, a plastic ziplock bag to put it in, a packet of tissues and a small bottle of hand sanitiser?


This might sound scary but it’s just the new norm. To keep yourself safe, have a pack made up in your bag where you can have your own little sanitation station! We are also fans of the emergency period pack, featuring your period product of choice, some paracetamol, and an emergency Mars Bar (of course!).

We hope these tips were of some help! If you have any other tips you would like to share, please let us know! We would love to hear them! You can email us on info@shona.ie


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