With the last few weeks of summer rolling in, many young adults are beginning to feel anxious, nervous and worried in anticipation of the upcoming transition to college right around the corner. Soon, many of them will be packing their bags and leaving home to start the next chapter of their lives – college. And while this can bring feelings of excitement, it can also be a very scary time where leaving home and saying goodbye to friends, siblings and parents is overwhelming. In order to make these last few weeks more manageable and even a joyous and momentous time for your family, there are a few key things that your child can do to reduce feelings of anxiety. Share the strategies below with your child to help them feel empowered and ready to confidently head off to college. Reach out to us if your family needs more support.
Strategies to Help Ease the Transition to College:
Do your research!
They say that “knowledge is power” and in this case, this is especially true. You want to get as much information and knowledge as you can to empower yourself to feel confident about your upcoming transition to college. Talk to people who have been to college before about their experiences. Ask your questions. Look on your school’s website for information about your dorm and classes. Many schools even offer a list of suggested items to bring. Some schools will send you the contact information for your new roommate. If you feel comfortable, you can reach out to him or her and start planning! Who will bring what? Do you have similar interests? The more information you have before heading off for your first day, the better you will feel. Knowledge is power.
You may be feeling insecure about your ability to handle all of the new demands that college will bring – keeping up in challenging academic classes, making new friends, managing your own schedule and the list goes on. When feelings of insecurity creep up, our minds can turn negative and defeatist thoughts can take over such as, “I’ll never be able to do this,” or “I’m not going to like it.” When you recognize this thought pattern happening, replace negative thoughts with positive ones such as, “I can do this!” or “Even though I am nervous, I know I can handle this!” Talking positively to yourself in your mind is an important way to build your confidence and a powerful tool to help you manage anxiety.
Share Your Feelings
Talking about your feelings with friends or family members you trust instead to support you instead of bottling everything inside is always a healthy strategy and this is especially true right now. It is important to let your parents know that you are feeling nervous and guess what…they are probably just as nervous as you are! This is a big change for everybody and connecting with those closest to you about your worries and fears will help you to feel less alone. If you really don’t feel comfortable sharing how you feel with others, try writing in a journal. No matter what, don’t keep all of your worries inside because this will only make your anxiety worse.
Take a little bit of home with you
As you are getting all packed up and ready to go, you might want to consider bringing something from home that will be a special reminder of a happy memory like your favorite stuffed animal, a photograph of friends & family or a cozy blanket. If your anxiety creeps back up when you are at school, you can look at your special reminder of home and remember how loved you are, how many people believe in you and remember that YOU CAN DO THIS!
For more information about treatment for college students and young adults click here.