Congratulations for the success your son or daughter has achieved as they enroll in college. This is a wonderful time for your family, but it can be a stressful one as well. This is a time of transition.
Transitions can be hard. Your student will be faced with many new challenges: adjusting to living away from home, making new friends and succeeding academically.
Just as you want your student to rise to meet these challenges, we do as well. We have the benefit of knowledge about the experiences of college students from years of research on college students. Such research on students informs us that those who perceive they have support from home are better able to maintain confidence in their abilities and tend to persist to complete college.
During this time, students tend to strive for more independence and autonomy. This is a normal developmental stage. As they grow and adjust, you may feel both excitement and distress. The decisions they make and the resulting experiences may challenge your beliefs, values, and culture. This can be a confusing time for parents and students. You may find yourself feeling like you are losing your child and even fear for their future. It can be helpful for parents if they realize that this is a time for a student to realize their own unique personality. It is important for you to take care of yourself as well. Balancing your life is the key.
The initial adjustment to college can be as long as 6 months to a year. However, if you notice some or all of these changes in your student's behavior over time: your student does not seem to be his/her "normal self", their academics are declining; and/or they seem to be withdrawing from friends/family, you may consider suggesting that they make an appointment (call/walk-in) at MTSU Counseling Services, 326-S Keathley University Center (KUC), 898-2670 for further assistance. MTSU Counseling Services offers brief, short term counseling services at no charge for enrolled students. Initially, counselors meet with a student to determine their needs. If their needs fall within the limits and scope of our services, we schedule additional counseling appointments. For those students who suffer from chronic mental health issues or need long-term psychotherapy or medication management, we value the extent of our efforts to help those students connect with the appropriate mental health service providers in the community.
If your student experiences a mental health emergency, there are several options:
- go to the emergency room of the closest hospital (Middle TN Medical Center at 615-396-4100)
- call mobile crisis at 1-800-704-2651
- call 911 (police, ambulance, fire)
Helpful Campus Resources
- www.transitionyear.org — offers separate paths for parents and students
- www.jedfoundation.org — tab for parent resources
- You're On Your Own (but I'm here if you need me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage (2003)
- Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money-The Essential Parenting Guide To The College Years by Helen E. Johnson & Christine Schelhas-Miller (2000)
- Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College by Patrick Pasick (1998)
- Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, 4th Edition by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger (2003)