It’s almost time, are you ready?
It will be here before you know it.
It’s 2020, and nothing has gone as any of us had planned. College is no exception.
I can only imagine all of the planning that started last fall for all of the seniors in highschool, only to have plans shifted and cancelled completely.
In the last three months, all students have had to finish out their school year at home, from their laptops, missing all end of year school events. We are in the middle of making history and it’s not the kind of history we wished to be making, but life moves forward, and we must continue to shift and change as life requires. But what about the unknowns?
Quite often, when you look at charts and lists of top 10 stress points, “The Unknown” is usually between 8-10. Inside of that, we often see College lumped in with “The Unknown”. Understandably, this year’s college students have quite the road ahead of them. While campuses may open back up, will there be roommates? Will masks and sanitizer be required? What about orientation and early fall graduates? Will there be large gatherings allowed?
Going off to college is always an adventure, and with the added unknowns, here are a few ways you can maintain control in your life and stay on top of your anxieties.
You are in control of your choices
You will be the one who makes it on time to class (In-person or virtual)
You will be one who decides to go to that party
You will decide who your friends are
You will decide what you want to eat
You will decide whether or not you will say yes or no to drugs and alcohol
You will decide if your going to text or call home n a regular basis
And most important, you will be the one who needs to remind yourself of your “why” for college
You may be feeling overwhelmed right now. You may be feeling like you need to have all the answers; What is my purpose for college? How will I pay back my student loans? Is college right for me right now?
These are all good questions, and it’s okay to take some time to get the answers to these questions before jumping in.
Parents, now more than ever, is the time to connect with your college bound young adults. They need your council, reassurance and support while they make some of the biggest decisions of their life. We know you won’t have all the answers and no one is sure about how classes and the semesters will end up looking like, but we can be there for them emotionally, mentally and physically while you wait for answers.
Here are a few topics of conversation for you to use if you need a little help talking and helping your teenager open up.
Being in control of your life is exciting and weighty
Being accountable to self is important. What can this look like for you?
Showing up for life (classes, meetings, jobs) is important
Hanging out with friends is fun. Do you have a designated sober driver? What are your thoughts on peer pressure for substances and alcohol?
New friends is part of the college experience. Remember, your friends can make or break your college experience, so choose wisely.
Proper nutrition and sleep is important for the brain and body if you want to make it through college successfully. Make it a point to talk about shopping on a budget, eating from a cafeteria etc.
Participating in illegal substances and drinking past a safe point is dangerous and will affect grades, quality of life and those around you. Take care of yourself first, then your friends when you go to a party.
College can give you some of the best memories and friends you will have! You may not always make the best decisions, but that is part of life. You live and you learn and so long as you are okay with learning through mistakes, life will remain an adventure!
Your child(ren) is getting ready to jump into life with both feet. They may not be coming home every night, checking in with you on a regular basis, or even tell you everything they are up to. These choices are up to them now and setting boundaries is up to them. This will be a time of adjustment for you, so be patient with yourself. Your children are becoming adults and need some room to make choices, learn lessons and set their own boundaries. This will be hard for you and your child may feel like you are smothering them, so take a step back, take a deep breath and ask them questions about how they would like you to be involved in their life. These next 4 years will fly by and then it will be on to a new season of life for them, so don’t worry. College is going to grow and shape them in ways they need, and then it will be on to the next thing.
From one parent to another, You got this! I believe in you and I believe in your child’s ability to make smart choices!
Alicia Marcos Birong