The College Transition: What to Expect
College is a time of transition for young adults as they move toward their pursuit of academic and professional goals. For many, this will be their first time away from home. Not only will the rigors of college level courses feel challenging, but students are also in the process of navigating a new social environment. Living in residence halls, meeting new people, and managing their own time are just some of the many challenges facing university students. As with any major life transition, individuals may experience feelings of loss, anxiety, denial, fear and anticipation. While it is helpful to encourage your son or daughter’s independence during this time, remember that they will continue to need your support.
How Can I Support My Son or Daughter with the Transition to Seton Hall?
- Stay in Touch
While your son or daughter may be away from home, it is important to stay in contact with them. Reach out and let them know you are still there to offer them whatever support they might need. Whether you are around the corner, in the same house or live far away, your student needs your support and encouragement.
- Encourage Them to Develop Contacts
Coming to college and meeting new people can be daunting. Remember that your son or daughter is likely to have gone to high school with friends they have known throughout their lives. College presents new social challenges as students begin to meet and now live with new people. Encourage them to reach out to others and forge friendships. If your son or daughter is having difficulty meeting other students, encourage them to join clubs and teams, and to establish relationships with professors or mentors.
- Model Self-Care
Not only is college a stressful time for students, but it can also be stressful for family members. It is normal to feel sad, relieved, ambivalent, nervous, and overwhelmed. Make sure to get the support you need during this period of transition so that you can be available to your son or daughter. It is common to experience ups and downs. Model for your student how important it is to take care of your overall physical and mental health.
- Encourage Opportunities for Independence
For parents, it is often difficult to lessen involvement with college-aged children. It is difficult to take a step back because of uncertainties about how your son or daughter will handle making responsible decisions and choices. However, college is a time when young adults move towards greater maturity and independence. They cannot do this easily without the confidence and encouragement of their loved ones. As members of the university, students choose their classes, extra-curricular activities, and what they will do with their free time. Encourage opportunities where your son or daughter can manage these opportunities independently. Respect his or her choices and offer your guidance and feedback when and if it is solicited. Provide your student with the space needed to set his or her own agenda while making yourself available for consultation and support. Talk about issues of financial independence. Encourage him or her to explore various choices and opportunities available to them as university students.
Signs That Additional Support is Needed
Help from The Counseling and Psychological Services Center may be warranted if your student is experiencing any of the following:
- difficulty with concentration
- dramatic mood swings
- alcohol or drug abuse
- changes in sleep or appetite
- panic attacks or excessive worrying
- poor performance at school or work
- recent loss, such as death of a loved one, loss of a significant romantic relationship or a friendship
- conflict with family, friends, or significant others
- isolation from family and friends
- feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or depression
What Can I do if My Son or Daughter Needs counseling?
If you are concerned and believe that your son or daughter might benefit from counseling, please encourage him or her to call our office to set up an appointment. If your son or daughter is not yet willing to call the office, you may call and ask to speak to one of our staff psychologists for guidance on how to manage the situation.
The Counseling and Psychological Services Center provides short-term individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, consultation, and referral services to Seton Hall University students. Services are provided free of charge to SHU students. Services obtained by our students are confidential and information cannot be disclosed to anyone without written permission from the client. Students may call to set up an appointment for counseling at (973) 761-9500. They may also walk-in and ask to meet with a counselor immediately if they are in crisis. Our offices are located on the second floor of Mooney Hall, room 27. We are open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Limited evening hours are available by appointment only. Counselors are available after business hours and on weekends for emergency phone consultation and crisis intervention and can be accessed by calling the Office of Public Safety and Security at extension 9300.