Get stories and expert advice on all things related to college and parenting.
University of Oklahoma Move-In 2019 — All you need to know!Sooner Parents
Adapted from an article by Vicki Nelson
Your student completed the first semester of college. Congratulations! Time to build on that success to make the second semester even better.
Recognizing the opportunity that a new start brings can be both encouraging and intimidating. Your student wants to build on any successes from last semester, but they may also need to re-evaluate and readjust based upon lessons learned.
Returning to school for second semester is a very different experience from going to college for the first time. Students bring their newly-acquired wisdom and their mistakes along. There may be less anxiety, since they know what to expect, or anxiety may be high…since they know what to expect!
There is less build-up and excitement than there was in the fall, so returning to school may seem a bit of a let-down. Some of the novelty has worn off. Your student understands the realities of college life, so the road ahead may look longer and harder than it did in the fall. This is a more thoughtful return to college.
If first semester was less-than-hoped for, your student may be concerned about how to make this next semester better. They may or may not be able to express these worries.
They have confidence in their ability to make friends, to navigate the university community, to get to class, to talk to professors and to do what needs to be done.
Just as we are all encouraged by the possibilities of a new year, your student may be energized at the prospect of a fresh start.
It can be difficult, as a parent/guardian, to know how to help. If you’re too involved, it feels as though you are not respecting your student’s growth and allowing them to experiment with newfound independence. But stepping back entirely may make you feel as though you’re not doing your part to guide your student.
Second semester is a perfect opportunity for some conversations. Plant a few seeds, offer food for thought, and gently remind your student of your trust and support.
No matter what year your college student is, a new semester is a chance for a fresh start, and you can guide them in setting realistic expectations and goals. They’ll be one step closer to maturity and independence. You will be more comfortable taking a step back and watching them grow.
Vicki Nelson has more than thirty-five years of experience in higher education as a professor, academic advisor and administrator. She also has weathered the college parenting experience successfully with three daughters. She began her website, College Parent Central, to help college parents achieve the delicate balance of support, guidance, appropriate involvement, and knowing when to get out of the way.