It’s that time of year…school. From pre-school to college, Facebook is full of posts with students holding little signs, “Timmy; First Grade”, “Gabby; Pre-K”, “Brodie; Freshman”. For many it’s a time of excitement, for others…stress. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share what I’m calling The Freshman 15. Proven ideas to help the transition of going to college.
These thoughts help all students [freshman, sophomore, junior, senior…even super seniors] experience success beyond grades.
With over 20 years working on university campuses, I’ve watched students excel during their college years…students who have great friends, great experiences, and great maturity. I’ve also seen students drift; students who wander through their college years without focus. My goal is to share observations that help students and their families experience success during this transition…and success starts with having the right picture.
Picture your senior year [or your student’s senior year]. What do you want to be true of you? What will your friends be like? What experiences will you want to have had? What jobs or internships will you want to have tried? What countries or places will you want to have visited? How much debt do you want to end up with?
The Freshman 15 will help you create the picture and take steps to make that picture a reality. The path to the picture is often bumpy. I mean, no one pictures college sucking, right? There’s no Facebook pictures, “Lauren: Returning from Sophomore year: Disillusioned and Confused”, “Jimmy: Wiped Out of Freshman Year”. But, without a clear picture, college life is fuzzy.
I’ve realized over the years that students and parents spend A LOT of time and money getting into college…getting the right scores, getting the right grades, doing the right activities, applying for the right grants or scholarships…but there’s often a miss preparing the other parts of life. The intangibles. The character parts.
Students end up at school dealing with all the changes…new location, new people, new demands, a new bed…and dealing with feeling unprepared to face new relationships, new systems, temptations and other stressors.
I’m not going to bombard you with a bunch of statistics, because, often those statistics are used to create fear [Freshman drop out rates after the first semester, student loans that follow you for 40 years, Hot Pockets melting your mouth]. I don’t want to scare anyone. I want to encourage both students and families to be good stewards of the college experience. It’s a great opportunity and can be an incredible adventure!
This series is to get you thinking about your college experience, starting a conversation as a family, seeing if there are gaps to fill…and leaving you with some ideas…some practical ideas that you can put into action. I don’t want you to feel like I’m “shoulding on” you. You should do this, you should do that. These are merely some thoughts to get you thinking and help your planning.
To begin, think through your picture…maybe actually draw a picture or write a description of yourself when you graduate. Then, think of one or two steps to take towards that becoming a reality. Is there something in your life to stop doing? What might you need to start doing? Is there a fear that’s making you feel stuck? What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
The next post, Jump In, will focus on getting involved on campus…but, not too involved.