Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When Your College Student Is Unhappy

Taken from: College Parent Central

There are good days and bad days for everyone, of course.  College students are no different.  We hope that our college students will have more good days than bad days.  But sometimes, your college student may hit a string of bad days, or may seem particularly unhappy with his college experience.  This is one of those times when, as college parents, we may feel most helpless.  And the reality is that, in some ways, we are.  Your student may need to work through the situation himself.  But you can be there, providing that all-important constant support, and perhaps also provide a bit of guidance.

Once you’ve determined that your student’s unhappiness is just that, and not something more serious that needs intervention or counseling, you can begin to help your student examine and think about the sources of her unhappiness with her college experience.  As a starter, it may help if your student understands that it is very normal to feel a low point a few weeks into the semester.  The novelty of a new semester is over, the reality of midterms, papers, and expectations hits. The glow of new friendships may also be wearing off.   It feels as though things might be better almost anywhere else.

There are three primary factors that can affect how students feel about their college experiences on a particular campus.  As you help your student reflect, it may help him to consider his feelings about some of these.

  • Sense of belonging on campus or the feeling of “fit”. If your student is unhappy, it may be because he doesn’t feel that he fits into the campus community.  Can he make any changes or discover new areas or groups on campus? Read more...