Q: My daughter was thrilled to be accepted to university but even though she is living at home she seems to be very stressed. I am getting worried. Could you help her?
A: Many young people find themselves stressed in college or university, even though they have looked forward to it for years. There are many areas that I look at with students in her situation. One is long term goals. Some students enter a program that seems suitable and find that it is not for them. It is often hard for them to recognize and acknowledge this and re-evaluate their, particularly if it means losing an academic term. I also look for any root causes of stress. If the family has inadvertently put pressure on the student, for instance ‘this is the first person in our family to go to university’, or, ‘my child is going to be an engineer just like me’, the student may have two problems. They may not be happy in their program and they may feel the pressure of disappointing their parents.
Many students need to learn stress management and time management techniques, both of which I would do with your daughter. Even though she is living at home, college or university is a big change and sometimes the stress can be overwhelming. Being away from old friends and environments, a long daily drive, living on their own for the first time, difficult school work, all add to this stress. Now that they are older, of legal drinking age, have more control over their time, increased freedom, and are without a parent’s watchful eye, it is sometimes difficult for the student to balance studies with social life. Although they won’t take advice from a parent, they will from me.
Self esteem is important at any age and is always critical to success. Frequently the student’s expectations of what life would be like after high school, how they would manage, what courses they would take and other such issues, do not come true, and this shatters their confidence and then, their self esteem.
These are just some issues that may affect your daughter. Some young adults cope well in spite of their concerns, however, some become despondent and even suicidal. No matter how old they get, they are still our children so keep the doors open and talk to your daughter! I can offer both of you an experienced, objective, private approach.