Back to School!


We are gearing up for “back to school” time here at Ascend.  Each of our three locations have specific needs for their clients and clients’ families with returning to school or starting at in a new environment.  Over the next month, Ascend staff will share tips, thoughts, and resources for students and families alike. 

We are launching a new online support group for parents of loved ones in recovery in college, slated to start Tuesday, September 12th in the evening.  This group will meet via a secure, private online platform for an hour each Tuesday for six weeks.   For more information, please contact Katherine McClayton ( 

We asked our staff to share thoughts on ideas to keep in mind when returning to school:

For students:

  • Your new class schedule may interfere with you regular snack and meal times. Plan ahead! Pack a few non-perishable items to keep on hand and plan out your day to accommodate both your class and eating schedules!

  • Have a list of people you can talk to if you feel stress adjusting to the first week of classes.

  • Grocery shopping independently may feel as though it is a challenge for a college student. Start with a simple list of the basic items that you always have on hand, and then build from there.

  • Keep easy-to-grab snacks on hand for days when you're in a hurry, such as granola bars, crackers with nut butter packets, or trail mix.

  • For freshman in college it can be hard to balance health and convenience. Utilize your dining hall's salad bar to keep pre-chopped fruits and veggies on hand in your dorm room to add to convenience items like Easy Mac or Ramen to help meet your exchanges and get more nutrients (E.g: Add chopped grilled chicken and broccoli to easy mac or chopped nuts and fruit to oatmeal packets).

  • For improved stress management, plan to take breaks from texting and checking social media.  This may seem like an outlet, but can often lead to elevated stress levels.  Plan a snack break with a friend instead, for example.

  • Get enough sleep! It is easy to let sleep be one of the first things to go, but remember that it too is vital to your well-being. If necessary, change your schedule to allow for a solid 8 hours of sleep each night.

  • The school year will most likely bring about business with both schoolwork and extracurricular activities. You may feel tempted to skip out on appointments with your therapist, dietitian, or supported groups. Resist this temptation and keep yourself accountable. Staying connected to your critical support structures is paramount to your recovery.

For parents:

  • Ask your child what they need to feel the most supported.

  • Pack lunches the night before to save time in the morning.

  • Prioritize family meal time as much as possible. It doesn't have to be complicated--frozen lasagna and a salad, for example--but having that time set aside will ensure space to connect amidst the busyness.

  • Talk with your child on effective communication methods for checking in.  Timing, methods (texts vs. calling) and the boundaries that make each person feel comfortable and safe.

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