Transitioning from high school student to college student is a big step and it’s important that the closest people in your son or daughter’s life, including themselves, are on the same page about supporting and guiding as well as giving independence and freedom to learn as they become adults and learn to function independently of their family unit. If I made it seem easy, don’t be fooled. From first hand experience, I can tell you that there will be times where they feel uneasy and insecure about this time in their lives and where you would love to come to the rescue. I did for my daughter a handful of times; hit the freeway and headed south to save the day. Sometimes all a daughter needs is a trip to rue 21 and some one-on-one time to remember where they came from and where they are headed. And those moments will serve as true reminders of how fortunate they are to have you as a role model and life coach. When life gives you an opportunity to step in and show your love, don’t forget to softly leave your young adult with a piece of wisdom so that as they recall the experience later on, they also recall a valuable piece of advice that stuck with them and made an impact.
First off, it’s a good idea to remind them why they are where they are. If they went to school to become a psychologist, it’s important that they remember why they did that and where they hope to be at the end of those four years. If their major is undeclared, remind them that as they discover what it is that they are interested in, the best thing they can do is give it their all, seek guidance, get involved and talk. Some of the best opportunities are right in front of you. Whether they are just starting to discover what their academic strengths or are already decided, interacting with peers and getting involved will only help them later on. When I say that they should talk, I don’t mean as an alternative to passing notes in class. I mean, when they don’t understand a concept or point of view, inquire and start a conversation with someone. In all my years in college, I don’t recall a time when debating or simply chatting about the material and matters at hand didn’t broaden my horizons.
Whether your son or daughter is an introvert or extrovert, friendships and social pressure is a big deal in college. Especially during the first semester, they will meet so many people and probably get close to some. But so much happens during those first few months and by the end of the year, the people you most relate to and feel comfortable with are usually not the ones that called your attention that first week of classes. A soft reminder that friendships take patience and that the best thing to do is just be yourself, will go a long way and remind them that who they are is exactly what their friends need them to be.