For many high school seniors, heading off to college is an exciting next chapter in life. Graduating from high school marked the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. For many college freshman, learning how to cope with the new family dynamic, while attending college, can be challenging and, at times, depressing.
Whether leaving home to attend college or attending college in your hometown, the impact of family life can significantly impact your ability to focus on academic programs. With the independence college life can bring, many college freshman find it is easiest to move through their academic studies when begin to limit their communication with the immediate and extended family.
While communication with family is important while attending college, it is the amount of communication that should be modified to ensure the best possible outcome during college. Limiting calls home to once per week can assist the college freshman with transitioning into the independence of adulthood while still remaining in touch, to some extent, with the home life and foundation that brought them to this stage of their lives.
One area of increasing concern among college counselors are the number of incoming college freshman who are impacted by the sudden news of divorce by their parents. With many couples choosing to divorce after the children have left for school, college freshman are often affected the greatest, even when they do not reside in the home.
Whether coping with a divorce or some other family crisis, as the college freshman, it is important to use this time to embrace your college life and find an outlet in which to express your individuality and try not to focus on the dynamics of family life. Find new hobbies, clubs, activities and friends who can engage your interests and distract you from the turmoil of home life. Stick to the “once per week” communication and, most importantly, do not feel guilty for leaving home and heading into college especially during this period of crisis back home.
This is not to say that we should ignore the issues of our home life. As a college freshman, if you feel you are unable to concentrate on school work, and your family is better suited by having you back home, it may be necessary to take a semester or two off and spend time with your family. However, most college freshman would agree that it is the college life that actually saves them in their fight to keep sanity and some form of normalcy during this troubling period.
The key with any transition in home life is to prepare for the change well in advance. For many high school seniors, graduating and heading into college, focusing on academic programs should be the number one priority and, in most cases, college life is the pre-occupation to any conflict or issues at home.