Happy Thanksgiving Parents & Students! We hope you enjoy a great holiday weekend!
At this point students are down to the last 3-4 weeks of the semester and have hopefully set themselves up for a strong finish. For parents, this means that your student’s stress level will peak, especially heading back to school after Thanksgiving! TOC wants to provide our parent readers with insight into the experience of last few weeks of the semester for your student and tips on how to be helpful.
For students, the last few weeks of the semester are filled with a mix of anticipation for winter break, holiday celebration and significant stress associated with completing assignments and prepping for finals. Unfortunately, stress is worsened not only by the upcoming, intense academic demands but a decrease in maintenance of helpful stress management strategies.
November is a critical month where students benefit most from continuing with consistent, proactive healthy activity. However, many students miss or cancel ongoing appointments with counselors, advisors, and other helpful campus resources. During this time of the year rising numbers of students seek a Medical Leave of Absence (“MLOA”) or petition for a course withdraw. Other students may seek campus resources out for the first time in the semester out due to difficulty coping with stress, anxiety, and perceived crisis.
Students challenged by intense stress and anxiety frequently express negative language reflective of low confidence. Statements like, “I should have gotten it done earlier..” “I can’t do it..” “I haven’t been to class..” and “There’s no way I can pass..” are often heard across campuses. In addition, students also have a tendency to decrease their stress management activities (e.g., exercise) that often associated with a perception that, “I HAVE NO TIME!” Time management and organization skills, resiliency, and self-confidence are all tested at this time of the year. As a result, ANXIETY symptoms escalate.
Parents, at Take On College we understand that it is an incredibly challenging time for you who want to help your student(s) during this stressful experience.
Here are 5 awareness points for parents to help their student(s) down the final stretch:
1. There is opportunity in the midst of struggle. While there is little that is more challenging to parents than listening to their child’s struggle, these are often great, teachable moments. Resiliency, self-confidence, and self-efficacy are critical skills for college students to develop. These attributes are gained primarily through persevering through stressful circumstances. Remind your student of these attributes and the opportunity to develop them.
2. Be mindful to coach, not advise. Our tendency as parents is to advise our children. Remember that college life is a critical experience for students to develop confidence in effective problem solving and decision making. Don’t immediately advise them on what to do. Help your student develop self-confidence by supportively challenging him or her to determine the best way to handle stressful experiences.
3. Support their strengths. In times of stress and struggle people often perceive that their level of anxiety/stress is greater than their capacity to cope. This occurs in part because of the tendency to fill our minds with negativity while minimizing positive attributes. Remind your student to tap into their strengths.
4. Encourage your student to approach, not avoid. When confronted with anxiety and stress a common response for students is to avoid actions that may prove to be beneficial. Often students choose to avoid scheduling with a professor who teaches a class in which they are not performing well. Encourage your student to think beyond the course of the benefit of developing assertiveness and schedule with the professor.
5. Encourage stress management practices. These are often minimized activities during the final weeks of the semester. Effective stress management is most important at this time of year. Encourage your student to be mindful of planning time to exercise, eat well, and sleep!
And of course if we can be helpful, please contact us!
Visit us at: http://www.takeoncollege.com
Personal Development & Performance Coaching for college and high school students