The first year can be a tough one for your student. Dealing with the adjustments of a new school, new surroundings, new friends and new classes on top of an onset of responsibilities can be somewhat overwhelming. Talking with your student about these issues will be a great benefit to both you and your student. Most importantly, remember that this is a learning experience and that mistakes can be fixed!
Issue: Anxiety related to fitting in and making new friends are typical during this time.
Solution: Talk with your student about getting involved in an activity or organization that interests them. This is the easiest way to meet people that your student will connect with. Additionally, encourage your student to think about the qualities that they would like in a friend.
Issue: Students that are unsure of their major or career path may experience some anxiety about classes beginning.
Solution: Suggest that your student talk with an academic advisor and/or contact the Career and Professional Development Center to take an interest assessment. Often times, freshmen students can take a few basic classes while trying to figure out exactly what they want to do. Remember, changing a major will hopefully ensure that your student is happy in their upcoming career.
Issue: At this time in the semester, students may become overwhelmed with trying to balance their studies and social commitments. Additionally, assignments and tests are coming up.
Solution: Suggest that your student purchase a planner from the bookstore to keep assignments and activities organized. Encourage them to assign time to the most important things first, so they will have time for other activities.
Issue: As mid-terms and projects are coming up, you student may become stressed about studying and retaining material.
Solution: Remind your student about the Achievement and Learning Center if they need additional tutoring outside of the classroom. Encourage your student to check in with their professors concerning their current standing in the class and potential room for improvement.
Issue: Spring Semester registration is coming up in early November and your student might be unsure of the classes they should take.
Solution: Propose that your student meet with their academic advisor in the Office of Freshman Advising for more information pertaining to classes offered and possible advising holds. The Career and Professional Center might offer suggestions on possible internships or on-campus jobs related to your student’s interests or career aspirations.
Issue: Your student might be experiencing financial issues or stress as they reach the end of the semester and funds are dwindling.
Solution: Encourage your student to begin searching for an on-campus job. This is also a great time to talk about budgeting money and priorities.
Issue: Stress is starting to accumulate because the semester is about to end and students may begin to worry about grades for the end of the semester.
Solution: Remind your student to begin studying early. Suggest that they talk with their professor about specific topics or concepts that they do not understand. Forming a study group with other classmates might also be a good option for your student.
Issue: Anxiety might increase as final exams and papers are due.
Solution: Encourage your student to finish the semester strong. Being organized during this time is crucial; suggest having them write down all deadlines on a calendar and set aside time to study for tests and preparing papers.
Issue: Getting back into the groove of going to class, homework, studying, and student activity commitments might be difficult.
Solution: Suggest that your student create a calendar with all their upcoming dates and times of commitments, tests and assignments for the semester. Getting prepared and organized early will reduce stress later on in the semester.
Issue: After a tough first semester, your student might be a little anxious or apprehensive about returning to campus and starting their classes.
Solution: Talk with your student about what worked and what didn’t work for them. Help them brainstorm possible improvements for this semester. Ask how you can help support them in their efforts.
Issue: Spring Break is coming up and your student is looking for something to do during the break.
Solution: Your student should consider using his/her Spring Break to do something constructive; check out information about alternative Spring Break options with the Helen P. Denit Honors Program, the Diversity and Culture Center and/or the Rosenberg Center for Student Involvement.
Issue: As midterms approach, your student may feel overwhelmed with commitments and class assignments.
Solution: Provide your student some motivational words and talk with them about prioritizing all of their commitments. Encourage them to balance their school work by scheduling in their study time. If they start preparing early, they can use their social commitments as breaks.
Issue: Your student is preparing to register for the Fall Semester and some uncertainty may arise concerning their major, their course load or their specific career path.
Solution: Discuss registering for classes with your student. Encourage them to seek advice from the Office of Freshmen Advising, a professor or staff member or the Career and Professional Development Center. Suggest that they consider shadowing someone on their ideal job. Help them think about all their commitments (work, school, church, social, student involvement, etc.) when registering for classes to achieve the right number of hours for them.
Issue: As the school year is coming to an end, your student is probably thinking about their plans for the summer.
Solution: Talk with your student about their plans—are they looking at taking classes, studying abroad, pursuing an internship, working, etc.? Discuss all the options and consider what is best for your student and your family.
Issue: By this time of their second semester, your student may think that final exams are no big deal. However, waiting until the last minute can cause issues and with summer break a few weeks away, it might be difficult for them to focus.
Solution: Talk to your student about studying early and being prepared for their last few weeks of school. Remind them that summer starts after finals are over.