Understanding The Rhythm Of College Life
Certain times in the academic year tend to be universally challenging to students. Parents and families who understand the ups and downs of the first college year are better able to help their students negotiate the challenges of the transition to college.
Early in the school year, families should be on the looking for homesickness, loneliness and frequent calls home. By October and November, the anxieties may shift to midterm exams, roommate challenges and consequences for good and bad decision-making. December’s final exam period may also cause uncertainty, as will the prospect of moving back home for winter break.
The start of the second semester typically brings feelings of a fresh start, though satisfaction or disappointment over fall grades may still linger. Homesickness could again set in for some students, while others will be very excited to again leave home and return to school.
Winter can be a challenging time for everyone and students are no different. They may begin to have feelings of claustrophobia and depression set it, and sometimes the latter winter months can see an increase in alcohol or other substance abuse. By March there could be anxiety over spring break over summer employment options, while by April the pressure of the end of the semester and any looming decisions (like selecting a major) could add to the stress.
The May final exam period can also be a time of stress for students, as can the prospect of leaving college friends behind and moving back home for the summer.
Throughout the year, other factors can add stress and anxiety for your student, including missing birthdays, family celebrations and other family traditions.
As a parent or family member, providing a listening ear will help your student through their struggles. Referring them to campus resources and using the Panther Family Guide can help you connect them. When in doubt, contact Panther Families and we will be happy to help.