There is little doubt that by the time August roles around, your student is going through an emotional roller coaster of feelings and thoughts about university. On one hand, they are excited about the journey that awaits them, about being away from home and experiencing new things. On the other hand, they are worried about leaving the relative safety and security of home and all that they've known for virtually their whole life. Everything from relationships, friends, families and pets will be left behind for the unknown. Here are some hints to help them adjust to the next chapter in their life.
What you can do to help
- Understand that this is normal, and spending time with old friends is a healthy way to prepare for the upcoming separation
- Offer help in making some decisions. This can be anything from taking them shopping to buy a new comforter for their new 'home' to looking up information about their new city, and what services are available
- Create a list of things that need to be done before leaving home. Ask your son/daughter to do the same and compare the lists
- Together, make a list of items that they can take with them, or items that you may need to purchase prior to the big move
What may not help
- Doing everything yourself. This may seem like helping, but it may not help your student from learning to be more independent
- Rushing the list making and being upset if it is not complete. This is a big adjustment and your son or daughter may not be ready to sit down and discuss everything in detail
What you might be feeling
- Understand that if you are anxious about getting everything done ahead of time that you may simply be anxious about your student leaving home. If you deal with those feelings, it may ease the stresses associated with the move itself. Talk to other parents who either have or have had a son or daughter go away to school
- Let your child know how you feel regarding hopes, fears, and expectations. You may be concerned about safety, grades, drinking, drugs, the social scene, eating habits, and basic adjustment. It will be interesting for you to hear your child's concerns.
- Warning: Your child may not be eager to do this. That's okay. Expressing some of your feelings will make you feel better
- Remind your child that they may be on an emotional roller coaster for a while, but that you are confident that they are ready for this new life away from home. Reassure them that they can always call on you for support