Starting college can be a daunting experience, for both students themselves and their parents. As a student, you may be worried about living in a new environment, dealing with new academic challenges, and building a brand new social circle. As a parent, you may be worried about how to properly support your child, and how to strike a balance between staying informed and involved and letting your child begin to explore adulthood. Here are a few tips for both students and parents to help make this transition as smooth as possible.
- Maintain a healthy level of communication. This is especially helpful if the student is going away to college. Students, make sure you communicate with your parents enough that they feel like they are still involved in your life. Parents, make sure that you stay informed about your child’s academic and social life, but also try to give your child space to grow and develop as an individual.
- Embrace change. This is a new era in your life. Students, this is your opportunity to reinvent yourself. You can explore interests you neglected or shied away from in high school. You can find a brand new group of friends, and be free of any social stigmas or pressures you experienced in high school. If you struggled academically, you have a change to start over now. Parents, you can establish a new dynamic with your child. College is the time when you can begin to relax your control over small aspects of your child’s life, and get to know him or her in a new and different way.
- Trust yourself. This one is especially important for parents. It can be hard to loosen those reigns and allow your child to have freedom. You need to trust that you’ve done your job while your child was younger, and that he or she has learned healthy habits, boundaries, and coping mechanisms. Let him or her demonstrate this without hovering and smothering. Students, trust yourselves to try new things, and to rise to all of the new challenges you will face.
The beginning of a freshman year in college generates new fears, but it also offers new opportunities. This is a time to be excited about those opportunities and the new successes they will bring. Whether you are a student starting college, or a parent supporting your child in his or her new venture, this is a time to look forward to the great things to come.