Academics, social, health and well being are some of the areas freshmen experience difficulty. For my girl the workload is very demanding. Even though she was prepared for a hectic workload, it still has a level of difficulty and at times have proven to be very overwhelming.
The advise we give her is create a schedule and time management tips. We give her space to grow independently without dismissing her thoughts. But all we can do is support. She has to develop her own time management style. She visits her professors and developed a rapport with them. This is a skill she adopted in high school. My college freshman has also developed relationships with upperclassmen who have traveled the same path as she and whose advise have proven to be priceless.
She's socially adept, and yet it has proven to have it's challenges. Luckily, she has an amazing room-mate who is more like a sister than a roomy. That's one less thing to worry about. She's made many friends and though at times, she sends the random 'I wanna come home' or 'I miss you so much' message, she loves her school and the friends she made. Campus activities and social gatherings are a joy for her and have their own set of distractions. but she has to learn balance. We can only advise. If her grade dipped because she partied and didn't study.....she'll make the adjustment. The motivation can't come from parental threats; it must come from within our students. She's a staff writer for the school newspaper and though she enjoys it, has had to pass on some articles to meet class obligations. Balance is very tough. She's managing her workload and 'the struggle is real' but she has a great group of friends who share in the struggle and that makes it bearable.
With regards to health and well being, my daughter never went to a doctor visit without a parent. For a freshman, visiting the doctor when ill could be daunting. They prefer to lay in bed. That's when moms yell and insist that they get their butts out the bed and go to the doctor. Because we know that nothing gets accomplished if sick....unless your name is mom.
As parents, we need to feel needed but it's more important for our Freshmen to feel confident, motivated and independent. These few tips can help you support your college freshman without smothering.
- Do not call Administrators to solve a problem your child may be having. Instead, give your child the first stab at it with tools and confidence to navigate his/her college world.
- Don't call your child constantly sharing what he's missing at home. That worsens his homesickness.
- Do ask about the friends they're making and show a genuine interest in his/her social life.
- When they call about a difficult test/low grade....DON'T freak out! Be encouraging and supportive and remind them about tutor services on campus or ask them what they could've done differently.
- If they don't call often, don't worry or complain.....they ALWAYS call when they run out of money. Make the most of that phone call.
You want your kids to be independent, confident and well adjusted to campus life. If you do everything for them, you will cripple their growth. Life has its challenges and college is a great internship on 'real life'. Be encouraging, be supportive, be motivating and embrace your journey without hampering theirs.