The beginning of the best four years of your life – that is what a college student hears so often when they arrive at college for the freshman year. According to parents and other students, the world is now at their fingertips just waiting for them to explore it and find their place in it. It’s exciting, it’s nerve-racking, it’s overwhelming… and it’s completely different for each student.
The first few days and sometimes weeks of college aren’t actually school days – there are a series of parties and get-togethers where each student is trying to find their place. After that, things start to get serious: classes begin, the parties calm down (kind of…), hopefully there is a rhythm to the days and each student makes friends, gets involved and figures out how to manage it all while still paying attention to the academics (which is really why they are at college, after all). But what happens when things don’t go quite that smoothly? Maybe your student has the routine down but still doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe they aren’t having the incredible time that everyone raves about? Maybe they think that something is wrong? Friends and family ask, “How’s college?” and their reply is automatically “It’s amazing! The best! I absolutely love it!” …But that isn’t actually how they are feeling?
Now that they have finished their first semester it’s a good time to check in with them. How does your student really feel? Were they depressed at all, lonely, maybe even a little home sick? Did they talk about these feelings with their friends at school or from home? If they did, and each was telling the truth then they probably heard that indeed their friend also shared these feelings. Hopefully this won’t come as a shock to them – hopefully each student can admit that college can sometimes be less than incredible.