Adjusting to College Life - Things to Consider
The Give and Take of Dorm Living
At the same time students are trying to make connections, they also need their own space. Living in close quarters with peers leaves students with little privacy but plenty of interpersonal challenges. For many of them, the college dorm may be the first time in their lives they’ve had to share a room. This requires the kind of communication and negotiation skills many college-aged students haven’t yet mastered.
Odds are that your child and his roommate won’t necessarily be the best of friends. Discovering what makes his or her roommate tick and finding ways to live together can be one of the most important learning experiences college provides.
Greek Life, Service & Clubs
Joining an intramural club or the Greek system on campus can give students a running start, and provide rewarding opportunities for campus involvement, community service and social development.
Students who are involved in campus activities or service work often report having a better overall college experience. But remember: while your child’s social activities offer multiple benefits, they also come with plenty of diversions. Whatever organization or activity your student chooses, help them make sure it’s a healthy environment, one they can balance with other obligations. It usually takes new students most of a semester to be able to properly evaluate their emerging interests and capacity for extracurricular involvement.
As students explore the possibilities, parents can encourage them to embrace this time as a chance to be authentically themselves. Indeed, if students felt pressured in high school to put up a front or blend in, in college they will relish the chance to discover their own uniqueness along with a community of people they truly enjoy.
As students will make their own choices, parents can encourage them to associate with groups of people with whom they feel comfortable and who bring out the best version of themselves.
Once at college, your child will discover first-hand that college work is not just greater in volume than high school work; it’s more intellectually demanding. Doing more work, more independently, is stressful. Complicating matters is the fact that, in today’s campus culture, sleepless nights are often a badge of honor and academic stress is the norm.
Help your child think carefully about her academic course load. Even if they were in the top of her class in high school, college courses are more challenging, and they happen in the context of a variety of other new pressures and experiences.
Talk together about your child’s academic priorities, study environment, and healthy ways of blowing off steam through exercise or relaxation techniques. Discuss ways to determine how your child is coping. If the demands are so great that your child needs special support, encourage them to form study groups with other students or seek out teaching assistants, advisors and mentors or help from the campus learning center. Academic adjustment takes time but most students will succeed with the right resources and support system.
- Adjusting to College Life - The First Few Weeks
- Adjusting to College Life - Things to Consider
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse on Campus
- College & Stress
- Managing Stress
- Stress Check - Signs of a Problem
- The Importance of Wellness Philosophy & Services
- The Push-Pull of Independence
- Wellness Philosophy and Services: Questions to Ask
- Your New Communication Contract