Mentally preparing yourself and your child for college

College kidsWhen a child decides to continue his or her education, it is a very big decision.  Not only does that mean additional work and effort, but also a drastic change to everyday life.  This comes with a new environment, new home, new friends, and even new interests.  This is the time that a person truly finds out who they are and what they like, because everything they are doing is for them.  Change can be tough, but when going away to college, try to coping with the transition by using this advice:

  • Keep family and friends close. Without a strong support system, you will have a much harder time during this transition.  Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to call someone you are close with. This can often help to make you feel more calm, and at home, just by hearing a familiar voice. Accept that you may need help every once in a while, so that these talks are not counterproductive, but rather comforting.
  • Anticipate the change. Be aware that your life is changing for the better. You don’t want to be surprised when when new experiences arise, it can create more of a shock.  It will make the transition easier if you understand things are going to be different, so that you have already mentally prepared that change.
  • Learn basic life skills. When going to college, you will not have someone cleaning up after you, doing your laundry, or cooking your meals.  These are all things that you need to learn how to do on your own, or else you will struggle more with the transition and not be able to take care of yourself.
  • Be open to new things. Accept that you are going to be exposed to a new environment and are able to experience things you have never experienced before.  Without trying new things and meeting new people, you won’t know exactly what you like. This is the perfect time to try everything you can.
  • Manage your time. While there is so much to offer, still be mindful of schoolwork and balancing your activities.  Remember the reason you are there, while making the most out of your time.

Not only is this a tough transition time for the child going to college, but this can also be a very hard time for parents sending their child off. If you’re sending your child off to college soon, and think you may struggle with this change, try following these tips to help alleviate your sadness:

  • Support your child. Ask about things that they are doing and getting involved with.  The more you know about their experiences, the closer you will feel to them.
  • Reassure yourself.  You have raised your child to be very smart and handle themselves in the real world.  Trust that you have done a great job doing so, and your child will succeed in their life.
  • Plan visits. Arrange a day to visit your child. This will give you and your child something to look forward to, and will make the time apart seem shorter.
  • Be optimistic. This is a very important time in your child’s life. They are taking everything that you have taught them, and learning how to apply those skills on their own.  This is a great experience, so look at it in a positive way.

Children and parents, both, can experience intense emotions during this time, but keep in the mind the importance of this time in life.  This is an opportunity that has been earned, and they are fully capable of continuing their life with everything learned.

Photo credit: Sterling College

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