Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
College Freshman Worries
Old 10-29-2007, 05:49 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
flipstress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 537
College Freshman Worries

My cousinís daughter (whom I call my niece) started with her first year of college this semester at the university here. She is having problems adjusting. She has been close since 8th grade with a couple of friends who are going to different schools.

They were all very sad to be parted from each other, but it seems that my niece is having a harder time than her other two friends. She spent most of her first few weekends either going home to her parentsí house or visiting her other two friends in their respective schools. During the homecoming at their HS, they all went home and after that weekend, according to her mom, my niece kind of realized that her other two friends have moved forward and are adjusting to their new life in college.

Her mom said she had a panic attack that Monday morning when she was supposed to drive back to school here and did not really want to go so her mom drove behind her in another car and took her to some classes. So her mom asked if she could stay with me and BF temporarily to have people around who are familiar to her. We are fine with that; we love her.

She has been coming home to our house two weeks now and she has been going to school. She has slept maybe a couple of nights at the dorm in that time. I know she does not like her major either (mechanical engineering) and will most likely switch.

Her mom and I have suggested that she go to the university counseling office but she keeps postponing it. She has come to the decision that she will transfer to one of the campuses where one friend is, but she hasnít decided which.

Her parents are concerned that she hasnít given this campus a try and they want her to become more independent. I am concerned that she is closing herself off to new experiences and new friendships and clinging to the past.

I will talk to her again about opening herself more to other people and activities. I will also encourage her again to see a counselor to help her define the problem and look for solutions. (I might even try to walk her through the good old case-study method from business school.)

I know a lot of you are parents, and some of you may be counselors to young people. What would you say to her? Or maybe to her parents?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
__________________

__________________
flipstress is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-29-2007, 05:57 PM   #2
Administrator
Janet H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 4,957
Some suggestions:
  • Change residence halls. Most places have some quieter, gentler halls or halls that house students with a specific interest. It might be easier to make friends or build a new network in a more controlled environment.
  • It may be too late now - but next semester take only classes that look FUN! Forget the course work required for a degree and just do a little personal stretching.
  • Work to build a new network. Encourage her to join a club, play intramural sports or even join a study group.
  • See the student counseling office and tell them what the issues are - they may have a mentor program in place.
  • Be cautious about changing schools to be with high school friends - they may have moved on and she may be very disappointed with the changed relationships.
__________________

__________________
Janet H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 06:04 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bright eyed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,891
Transferring won't solve her problem, and her friend may end up resenting her for it.

She should check out all the clubs and activities and "see" where she can find a new home - i went to a large pub school campus (over 20k students) and the only way to make it smaller was to join clubs and make your own community. They probably also have a good variety of fitness and recreation activities that she could try as well.

i didn't really mesh w/ my floormates either, but we were all friendly. she has to put herself out there.

The other hard part about college is there are times you have to eat alone and that is a big adjustment for some people.

I do know of someone from high school who just couldn't adjust and transfered closer to home, but unless you think she cannot stretch and learn to adjust, she should stick it out.

The weekends, on the other hand are tougher. Some schools everyone disappears because home is close enough to go back and get laundry done etc, so our halls were pretty empty on the weekend. I still didn't go back much because i liked being away and it helped to have a job on the weekends. so her coming over your place is a great option.

My younger sister was at a more boring campus than me and also came home all the time, didn't get too involved and then took refuge at her boyfriend's house and i think she got a lot less out of the college experience.
__________________
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
bright eyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 06:09 PM   #4
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,905
Change is just harder for some kids to handle, than it is for others. If she went to the other college, it might disappoint her because her friend would have other friends and would be doing new, different things... nothing would be the way it was.

It's tough. When she makes some new friends, her present college won't seem so bad.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 06:13 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bright eyed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,891
Oh, I forgot to add, I did have friends who transferred because the campus/majors were not right for them - but that is different than transferring to be with a friend/significant other...and they overall, were pleased with their decisions.
__________________
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
bright eyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 07:42 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
I wasn't a very happy camper as a freshman either. I was a big city guy at a small private college in a rural location. But back in the "olden days" (as my son calls my youth in the 60's), it wasn't easy to get back home despite campus and home being only a six hour drive apart. So there I was with no opportunity to see my folks, friends or anyone from home until Thanksgiving. Even long distance calls were a treat. So, with no other choice, I found a way to make it. By senior year, I was a very happy camper and some of my undergrad chums are among my best friends even today.

Perhaps freshman today can keep the connections to home too strong.......cheap/free long distance calls, email, their own car or plenty of money for public transportation home, etc.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 10:31 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
saluki9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,032
MAKE HER STAY

I was a clingy kid when I left home for college. The smartest thing my parents did was prohibit me from coming home for 3 months.

Unless you stay at school on weekends you're never going to meet and bond with new people. Going home every weekend is a bad thing.
__________________
saluki9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 10:38 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
Quote:
her mom drove behind her in another car and took her to some classes.
Gee, I wonder why there's a problem. Just joking, I know this can be a complex issue. I'd certainly agree with what the others are saying.

And as Alan Sherman would say:

Hello muddah, hello faddah
Here I am at Camp Granada
Camp is very entertaining
And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.

I went hiking with Joe Spivy
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.

All the counselors hate the waiters
And the lake has alligators
And the head coach wants no sissies
So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.

How I don't want this should scare ya
But my bunkmate has malaria
You remember Jeffrey Hardy
They're about to organize a searching party.

Take me home, oh muddah, faddah
Take me home, I hate Granada
Don't leave me out in the forest where
I might get eaten by a bear.
Take me home I promise I will not make noise
Or mess the house with other boys.
Oh please don't make me stay
I've been here one whole day.

Dearest faddah, darling muddah,
How's my precious little bruddah
Let me come home, if you miss me
I would even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me.

Wait a minute, it's stopped hailing.
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing
Playing baseball, gee that's better
Muddah, faddah kindly disregard this letter.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 10:45 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Pasadena CA
Posts: 2,695
There is no generic answer. Older son went away to college and didn't do well. Came home, went to a junior college and everything (eventually) worked out (now has masters degree, job wife & our two grandchildren(!)). Younger son just started college. He is only an hour away but wanted to live in the dorm and it is the right thing for him. The first couple weekends he came home & DW suggested he stay at college on weekends to make friends. He likes school but the key thing for him is he has made a LOT of connections musically. His high school had a lot of music but he was not as active as he could be. In college he has just blossomed in these connections, enough that he wants to switch his major to music.
Anyway, the point is that a kid (& I rmember my first year away at college) needs to make friends with similar interests. It may be an academic subject, travel, religion, the arts. They need to see the opportunities college offers.
__________________
T.S. Eliot:
Old men ought to be explorers
yakers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 11:44 AM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 898
I've had 3 kids grow into college, and this May, I'll have 3 college graduates, as well. All of them had initial issues with their roomies and fitting into college life. In college, I think the two most important things you obtain is an education and friends. I went to a commuter college with no real campus life and sadly I don't have one person I would call a friend from college, today. My wife, on the other had, went to Trombone Al's alma mater and she just brightens-up whenever she talks about the stump at Willard Straight Hall or her days with her college friends which she still maintains in contact.

For two of my children, they found their fit by joining organizations and becoming involved in some campus and off-campus activities, including part-time work, which also broadens your friendship base. Counseling is a very good idea for any student having "fit" issues. Whenever I hear of people not having friends, it's like a giant red flag to me -- we all need friends to connect, unless we want to live reclusively. We knew of another child that was having major social anxiety and fit problems at campus, and after counseling didn't work initially, the child took off a full semester, stayed at home to get her bearings right and then went back to the same school and found her niche and connections. Many years ago, my nephew had the same problems, he got depressed after his first semester away from home, and later suffered a major breakdown.

Not trying to scare anyone, but this is a very serious stage in a young person's life. Teenagers and young adults have a very limited perspective on life and lack a real sense of proportion -- I would recommend you keep on her about counseling in a non-intrusive manner and shower her with lots of attention -- she's having a real hard time now. She is, however, very lucky to have you concerned about her.
__________________
ChrisC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 12:42 PM   #11
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Whenever I hear of people not having friends, it's like a giant red flag to me -- we all need friends to connect, unless we want to live reclusively.
It's also kind of strange for a freshman to not have friends, don't you think? I am a bit of an introvert, but in my first semester in college I found friends before I could get out of the bookstore with my giant stack of books. I even had a date with a graduate biochemist before I could get my books to the car, and that was before classes had even started. He helped me to carry my books to the car. I never could figure out why he asked me out, since I was wearing a dress my mother made that I thought looked awful on me. Then once classes started, I had a whole group of OTHER friends that were freshmen, and we would meet in the cafeteria between classes. There was another boyfriend among those friends, and I was seeing both and not telling either by the end of the first month of classes. I had too many friends and boyfriends, and my grades suffered abysmally.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 01:04 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bright eyed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,891
Well, it is just the first semester. I remember the first semester was the loneliest - and you cling to old friends - call them all the time (and forget about it if you have an old bfriend/gfriend from high school, those were the most lost-longing for home/clinging ones (oh wait, that was me...hehe but by 2nd semester it was very over!) etc. Everyone gladly got together over the holidays, but eventually those gatherings diminish in size and occurance. She may not be giving new friends a chance if she's so busy KIT w/ the old ones.

By 2nd semester, you ease more into your new life and newer friendships can start to grow if you give them that chance. Sophomore year i had a blast with my new friends and activities i was involved with.
__________________
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
bright eyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 01:05 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,015
Every school is different and not every student is a good fit. My daughter first went to a school in state (the same one I attended, incidentally) -- and hated it! She made a number of friends, but just didn't like the place. After a year, she transferred to another school out of state and she blossomed there. I remember going out to help her make the move and watching her meet other young folks in the line to register for classes. I knew at that moment she would have no problems fitting in.

As others have pointed out, freshman year is fraught with "issues" -- and your niece needs your support, even if she's not particularly asking for it. There are a lot of resources available to her on campus, but many students are reluctant to seek them out -- thinking that they are the only ones facing the problem. Help guide her and keep listening to her.
__________________
Achiever51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
flipstress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 537
I think she has not tried to make friends. She seems stuck to the past and the close friendships she had then. Now with her thoughts of transferring, the wall is even thicker and higher--why should she even try to make friends if she is moving?

There might also be an element of the "too picky" syndrome(?) that you had mentioned in one of your posts. Maybe she is too quick to judge that another person is new, too strange, too weird, too wild, whatever but not quite good enough to be a friend. BTW, want2retire, your post about planning and putting one's self out there is something that I will share with her (the one from the thread about loneliness and retirement).

My initial thought about her staying with us most of the time is that she is not going to meet new people. I will encourage her to have a plan of what she's going to do during her free time in the dorm--join clubs, work out with someone, hook up with other HS acquaintances who are going to the U here, etc. She said she was watching a lot of TV before

Thanks for all the replies. Some of these things are stuff that my cousins and I have already talked about and some that we have suggested to her but I will forward all to her folks and we can keep repeating them to her.

(It is different to have someone else to think about other than just me and my BF. Having kids must be a shortcut to unselfishness.)
__________________
flipstress is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 03:29 PM   #15
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,905
Flipstress, I hope it helps her! It's tough to be lonely, especially for someone so young.
__________________

__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wreck your Worries mickeyd Other topics 3 04-01-2007 04:53 PM
Worries Martha Other topics 72 02-21-2006 10:52 PM
Pay for College All At Once TromboneAl Other topics 19 04-21-2005 11:07 AM
ER Worries My personal Dilemma. Any Thoughts? ShokWaveRider FIRE and Money 22 10-24-2004 08:55 PM
Any college students out there??? Berkshire Bull Young Dreamers 17 09-10-2004 11:27 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:29 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.