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North Carolina Central

The Rhythm of College Life

NC Central


Be on the lookout for these behaviors from your student and be ready to support them through it:

Fall Semester

August/September
  • Excitement
  • Testing newfound freedom
  • Frequent calls home
  • Homesickness and loneliness
  • Learning to balance first financial aid return check
  • Anxiety about roommate, professors, time management and coursework
October
  • Students question, “Do I fit in here?”
  • First test grades returned
  • Relationships at home may change
  • Consequences of decision making
  • Involvement in co-curricular projects begins in earnest
November
  • Midterm grades returned
  • Spring registration
  • Examinations, papers and projects due before Thanksgiving
  • Excitement and/or anxiety about going home for Thanksgiving break
  • First wave of campus-wide illnesses typically hits (cold, flu, strep)
December
  • Preparation for finals
  • Excitement and/or anxiety about going home for holiday break
  • End-of-semester and off-campus festivities and holiday celebrations
  • Strong sense of familiarity with campus and city

Spring Semester

January
  • Fresh start mentality sets in
  • Satisfaction or disappointment with fall term grades
  • Relief to be back at school
  • Reunited with friends missed over break
February
  • Winter doldrums set in
  • Campus buzz around residence hall room selection
  • Begin planning “master plan” for the next academic year
March
  • Excitement over spring break plans
  • Midterm exam stress
  • Fall registration
  • Summer preparations begin
  • The search begins for off-campus apartments
April/May
  • Student leadership elections
  • Final exam anxiety
  • Mixed feelings about returning home
  • Concern over summer employment
  • Excitement over completing thefirst year

In addition to these more predictable stressors, students may experience the following concerns throughout the academic year:

  • Missing family celebrations/holidays
  • Missing family traditions
  • Wanting involvement with family maintained, but also desiring complete freedom
  • Stress of having a sick family member at home

(Adapted from National Orientation Directors Association)

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