Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Helping Your Freshman Overcome College Fears

For students, college may be scary. The thought of moving out of their own homes and comfort zones can be frightening. Aside from that, there’s the fear of flunking, being left out, becoming broke, facing the mean roommate, getting fat, being intimidated by professors, and many more.

While it is mainly the student who makes the actual decisions, parents should also be proactive (without being a pest) in helping and guiding their incoming freshman deal with the transition. Below are some tips on how to help your child overcome the usual college fears.

Fear of leaving home

Although your child may not be vocal about it, he or she may be worried about entering unchartered territory. This is normal for anyone leaving his or her comfort zone. If you suspect your child is scared of leaving home, show empathy. Talk to him about his worries and reassure him that his family, home and support group will always be there for him.

Parents can also help lessen this fear by having their children bring along familiar objects from home. It may be a pillow, a blanket, a clock, a figurine, or absolutely anything at all that will make his new dorm room look and feel like home.

Fear of fitting in

This is an issue every college freshman will face. To help your freshman overcome this, encourage him to attend orientation and social events. Remind him that it is just as new for the other freshman as it is for him. Accompany your child to his new campus before classes start. This way, he gets to familiarize himself with his new environment and gets the opportunity to meet his roommates before actually moving in.

As parents, you should also stress the importance of making friends with the right crowd. Remind your child that bad company leads to downfall.

Fear of Freshman 15

If your family practices healthy eating, your child won’t have a problem with Freshman 15 or gaining 15 pounds on the first year of college. Encouraging your child to continue eating healthy meals, exercising regularly and having adequate rest will not only maintain his waistline; it will also nourish him and help him concentrate on his studies.

Remind your freshman to stay away from late night junk food and pizza. If he must indulge, it should only be in minimal amounts and he should burn the extra calories by exercise.

Fear of being financially broke

Finances is a common problem for freshmen. Only a few are wealthy and have the privilege to splurge all they want. You can help your child find the financial security he needs by encouraging him to work the summer before college. Some students even stop a year after high school to work. You can also inspire him to stick to his budget or to find a decent part-time job for extra earnings.

Although you would want your child to have the most comfortable living condition in college, giving him unlimited usage of your credit card is not advisable. If you need to leave your credit card with him, remind him to use it only for emergency purposes only. Teach him the consequences of overspending. You should also set your credit card to a limit.

Fear of flunking

Professors use different methods of teaching in college, as compared to high school. The subjects are more challenging and intensive than anything your child has ever had before. Assist him by reminding him to stick to a study schedule. If things are getting worse, help him to see that asking help from peers or advisers is not wrong and embarrassing.

Most importantly, build a good relationship with your freshman and keep the lines of communication always open!

About the author: This guest post was submitted by Melissa Page, a passionate writer and marketer who blogs for Florida National University, an institution that provides educational programs to enrich the community it serves. When she is not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.

Image Citation: Giorgio Monstersino

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