Making the transition between college and high school is a challenging, rewarding, and exciting process. Parents can help facilitate this transition by being understanding and supportive of the emotions that their student may be feeling during this time.
“Naturally I became stressed when man of my classes demanded a lot from me such as finals, but also when several tests or large assignments occurred in one week. Typically I tried not to change my schedule too much. Instead I would try to use my time more effectively. I normally would write a list of everything I needed to do and then another of everything I wanted to do. Then order each list in order of importance. Typically putting assignments that were due early first on the list. I would start with the needed to do list and move down it. When I needed a break I would do something off the wanted to do list. Typically I would try to avoid putting napping on the list. Naps can take a lot of time out of the day – use that time for working on stuff that needs to be done and sleep at night instead of vice versa. As far as health. I tried to work out but motivation in the gym is hard for me so I found a few friends who enjoyed biking and swimming. We’d swim about an hour each day and when it was nice we’d go for a 2 hr bike ride. This got me moving every day and was a great way to spend time with my friends. Also, I tried to limit my food intake to one large round plate on my tray instead of many, steered clear of the Red Rock Grill at the market as well as only allowing my self to drink water in the market (not much of a milk fan) this helped me to cut soda out of my diet. “
For me the hardest part about the transition was living in a new climate. I was ready to leave my parents and start a new adventure but it was hard adjusting to the heat and humidity. Classes are different, friends are different, professors are different, but it is a good different. College is the greatest adventure that I have ever taken. Definitely one of the greatest challenges and successes I’ve ever faced.
I came to college with sophomore status because of courses I had taken at my high school that had transferred to Central. I made the decision fairly early-on that I did not want to graduate early. I felt that, for me, I would miss too many things my senior year that were important. This turned out to be a blessing for me because it gave me a lot more flexibility in my schedule. I am really busy around campus and in the community and I exhausted myself freshman year by taking sixteen or seventeen credits each semester. My stress level was so high that I couldn’t get anything done. I wouldn’t sit down to do my homework until 11 or 12 at night and I’d be too busy running through the list of things I had to get done my the next day to concentrate on what I was doing. It was not a healthy way to go through college. My advice to students it this: Don’t feel pressured to take a lot of credit hours each semester. Your GPA, particularly in your first few years, is really flexible. A poor grade your freshman year will have greater impact than the same grade senior year when your GPA is pretty solid. Taking fewer courses so you can focus on them and perform to the best of your abilities may be a good option for you if you know you’re going to be taking tough courses. For parents, I would just say that your students know their abilities. I would encourage you to support them in making some of these decisions that will lower their stress levels and (hopefully) help boost their GPAs.
What was the hardest part?
I thought the hardest part was trying to get a schedule set for myself and getting into a routine. I also found asking for help when I needed it most to be difficult. At home you can just turn to your parents for help and support. At college you can still do that but there are many times when your parents can’t help you out. If you are struggling academically, be sure to talk to someone on campus that can help you out.
What do you think parents and new students should know about that transition?
It’s important to set a schedule of when you want/need to do homework and when you want free time. It will take time to get used to the new “way of life”.
What is the one piece of advice you would give?’
Parents should try and let their child figure out their own schedule. This is the time of the child’s life to figure things out on their own and establish their own routine and way of doing things. Relying on parents too much can really hurt a student’s adjustment to college life. I think parents should definitely support and help their student but they should also encourage them to seek other ways of help and support that are readily available on campus.
What would you do differently?
I would definitely try to not use my parents as much. I felt that I sometimes relied on them too much when the help I really needed was right in front of me. I would also like to have built better and stronger relationships with the girls on my floor.
What would you like to do over again?
I liked how my friends and I would set up times that we would go to dinner. We would also plan stuff for the weekend to come. We just made sure that everyone was involved and knew what was going on.
What was the best or most fun part of the transition?
Realizing how independent college can make a person. It’s really neat to watch yourself grow and change over 10 fast months.
What can students and parents do to prepare for that transition?
Talk before the student goes away to college. Discuss how often you will talk on the phone, email, etc. As the student it’s easy to get wrapped up into the social life that you forget your parents are worrying at home because they haven’t heard from you in days. Just be sure you are on the same page as your parents so they don’t worry about you!
What can students do when they’re on campus to make the first few weeks easier?
Meet the people on your floor. This is the best place to start meeting people you might later hang out with. After all, you will be living in close quarters with them so you might as well start a good relationship with each other. Start talking to your hallmates about what classes they’re taking. You might find yourself a study buddy. It’s also important to meet people through other activities and your classes.