April Stressors

  • Many students experience optimism because the second semester is perceived as on the downhill slope.
  • Spring fever sets in:  students want to play and socialize.
  • Academic pressures continue to increase; papers and exams are piling up.
  • Colds, allergies, stress-related illnesses increase.
  • The full activities calendar invites participation and challenges time management.
  • Summer job and housing pressures begin.
  • Frustration and confusion may develop because of decisions necessary for choosing a major, pre-registration.
  • End of the semester nears; sadness begins due to anticipation of separation from friends for the summer or due to graduation.

May Stressors

  • Final Exams begins; pressure to finish incomplete work.
  • Plans for summer school, travel, work and housing must be in place.
  • Roommate and social tensions may arise prior to vacation.
  • Sadness over leaving friends, deciding the destiny of romantic relationships for the summer.
  • Worry over facing conflict at home with family, making the transition back to living at home.
  • Satisfaction at having made it through another year!

Throughout the Year

  • Missing birthday celebrations at home
  • Missing holiday celebrations at home (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Passover, Easter, etc.)
  • Missing family specific traditions such as carving pumpkins, picking out the Christmas tree, going skiing over midwinter break.
  • Feelings of being left out of decision making in family matters, important or not (buying a new car, putting pet to sleep, getting new pet, reassigning bedroom space, making choices about vacation)

Patience and Understanding on the part of the family at home can go a long way in empowering first-year students to ride these tides of the academic year.

  • How can our family make visits home go smoothly?

Both you and your son or daughter are likely to have mixed feelings about visits home after they have been in college for some time.  Excitement and trepidation are likely to top the list.  Both you and your college student have gone through changes since college began.  Expecting the same rules or same ways of interacting to remain unchanged during periods when home is likely to result in conflict.  The following resources provide topical information on how to make visits go smoothly.

  • Where can I find additional information?
  • Book:
  • Letting go:  A Parent’s guide to Understanding the College Years By Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, 2003-4th Edition
  • Don’t tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money by Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller 2000 Griffin
  • Once my Child, Now my Friend by Ellinor Lenz 1985 (reissue) Warner Books
  • You’re  On Your Own (but I’m Here if You Need Me):  Mentoring Your Child During the College Years By Majrjorie Savage 2003 Fireside
  • When Your Kid goes to College:  A Parents Survival guide By Carol Barkin 1999 Avon.
  • Websites:
  • Transition to College:  Separation and Change for Parents and Students
  • Easing the Transition to College
  • The Boomerang Kids:  When you worried they won’t leave home
  • National Resource Center for the 1st Year Experience and Students in Transition
  • College Parents of America
  • Parents and Family Services of Maryland
  • Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
  • Parents College Questions.