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Back-to-School Scaries

August 22, 2018

Have you heard of the Sunday Scaries? The feeling of dread, angst, and anxiety you might feel on a Sunday night thinking about the work week ahead.

For those of us who work in an academic setting, beyond the Sunday Scaries, you might now be feeling the Back-to-School Scaries. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad librarian or that you dislike your job. But getting back to the school-year grind means, at least for me, that the relative quiet of summer (at least in terms of volume in the library) is drawing to an end. Time to do research and service projects will start to dry up as instruction and reference and collection development begins in full force.

It can definitely cause anxiety, even for the most seasoned academic librarian. I think it was worse when I first started.  At my first librarian position, we had a very long winter break. The library was very quiet. I spent much of that break working alone in my library, finishing random projects and helping the few community patrons with simple tasks. As it approached the time for students to return, I honestly questioned if I even remembered how to be a “real” librarian.

So what can we do to battle our Scaries? Maybe you’re used to helping your child or other young people in your life deal with anxiety about going back to school or other life changes — we help them plan ahead, and be prepared. Make a checklist of what you need to do, and take time each day leading up to the start of school to check things off and feel a sense of accomplishment. Get your supplies in order. Think back to going back to school yourself, and consider the Scaries your students are facing. Many of my students, in addition to starting college for the first time, are doing so in a new country, facing down a language barrier in addition to finding their way on a new campus full of new faces.

Let’s practice self-care as we head back into the academic year and battle our Scaries together. What do you do to battle your Scaries?

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