“The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.”
- Frank A. Clark
Transitioning to College
August is a time of both excitement and uncertainty, as new students begin their first semester of college. The transition to college life requires students to adjust to living in a new place and sharing living space with a roommate, meeting new people and forming new friendships, while meeting new academic expectations. It is quite common for new students to feel overwhelmed when facing so much change, and to have some feelings of doubt or anxiety about their ability to be successful in college. Everyone is feeling this way to some degree, and with time and some experience at FGCU, things will fall into place.
When asked, most new students will say that the best part of being in college is the freedom to manage their own lives and make their own choices and decisions, but with this freedom comes the tremendous responsibility for dealing with the outcomes of those decisions on their own. This can be a difficult emotional adjustment, as students come to understand what it means to be on their own, while coping with the outcomes of decisions that (in hindsight) may not have been the wisest. Once they realize that they have the emotional strength to handle these challenges, however, feelings of doubt are quickly replaced with a newfound sense of pride and maturity!
During the first few months of the semester, you might hear your student say that it has been hard to meet new people and form new friendships and that they miss their friends and family. It is quite common for incoming students to want to spend many of their weekends at home and some individuals find it hard to return to campus afterward. Feelings of homesickness are normal; when faced with so much that is new and different in their lives, new students often miss the familiar pace and rhythm of the life they used to have as they adapt to a whole new set of social, academic and personal expectations. While it is important to allow your student to adjust to college life at her/his own pace, spending too many weekends at home can limit their “bonding time” with their peers on campus, and exacerbate the very problem they are trying to solve.
Encourage your student to stay on campus for several weekends and to take part in campus activities (like Week of Welcome) that will help him/her meet new people and feel more at home in the residence hall. It takes time, but most students begin to feel more comfortable as they gain experience with college life!
Time Management & Study Habits
The college classroom is quite different than it was in high school; attendance isn’t always required, class isn’t held every day, and students are exposed to new and different ideas in lectures and discussions that will challenge previously held beliefs. Now that they can decide for themselves if they will attend class and complete assignments (even when they are not due for credit), it’s very easy to decide to skip class or let the reading and homework sit for another day, especially when there are so many other fun things to do on campus! It is important, however, for new students to create a daily routine early in the semester that includes attending classes, completing required assignments, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, sleep, and social activities. Excellent time management is the key to success!
As students receive their first grades on assignments and quizzes, they often realize that a change in their study habits is necessary; the study strategies that got them strong grades in high school will not get them the same grades in college. Instructors expect students to take full responsibility for their own learning and their own success, and students cannot be passive and wait for their professor to ask them if they need help after doing poorly on an assignment or exam.
How Parents & Family Members Can Help:
Important Dates for the Fall 2014 Semester:
Helpful Links for Parents and Family Members: