There’s something about the fall season that stirs up a bit of anticipation in everyone, especially for those returning to school.  And it seems with each year that passes, we start to get a little more excited to be going back. While the prospect of listening to teachers and turning in homework might not have been the least bit appetizing in high school, I daresay twenty-somethings going back to college are likely to feel ecstatic.

The best part about a new semester is that you’re truly starting over again.  In grade school and high school, you more than likely took classes with the same people over and over again every year, unless you went to a gigantic urban school.  But college is different: every class, every semester, is filled with new people.  Unless you go to a very small school, even when out walking around campus, you’re likely to see different people every day.

This means that with each new semester you can go through a sort of re-birthing process. It’s like a clean slate. You’re not surrounded by the same people every day, so there’s nobody there to remember your bad haircut from three years ago, or the time you had to use the bathroom during the intruder alert drill, or that incident in the lunchroom with the spaghetti.

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The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to change the way you’re doing things.  This can be a small change, like updating your wardrobe or getting a haircut, or something major, like committing to a diet or making a big move across the city or state.  Even the smallest of changes to your daily routine can make a big impact on your life.  So don’t be afraid to do things a bit differently.  If it doesn’t work out for you right away, it’s okay. You’re in a period of transition where some experimentation with the way you do things is perfectly acceptable.

With that in mind, it’s also important to be supportive of your friends during this time of the year.  Going back to school can be extremely stressful, especially for those who are traveling to do so. Have you ever packed up all your things and moved your life to a new city, where you don’t know anyone, and you’re more or less completely on your own?  Trust me, it’s not easy.  So if your friends are acting a bit crazy at the start of the semester, try to be understanding. Whether you’re moving from home closer to campus or crossing state borders, getting settled in and readjusting can take some time. If you have a friend who just moved, give them some time to take it easy and unwind. Maybe they won’t want to go out and party right away or they might be a little on edge for a week.

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It’s okay—give them some time and be supportive.

But once everyone is settled in and feeling more at home, by all means let the reconnecting process begin!  Of course, you should be open to making new friends, but don’t forget about those old ones who were by your side the past year. And think of how fun it is to reconnect with someone who you haven’t seen in three months. It’s kind of like becoming friends all over again.

With all that said, I wish all the twenty-somethings returning to school this year the best of luck.  Study hard, party hard and be yourself.

Photo via JKD Atlanta