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Old 09-24-2012, 10:39 PM   #16
loricdietzel
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I definitely agree he needs to stick it out for the semester if not the year. He may find second semester to be a lot better after he has the break in between since he will go back knowing what to expect. I know there have been several times where I have hated something and couldn't adjust, had a short break, and then had a totally different experience (a great experience) when I returned.

I also think he needs to realize that college is different than high school and there are many more people where he is now. While it is great to maintain relationships with his high school buddies who are there, it is crucial that he seeks out new friends. People change in college and I think when you are around people from high school it is easy to try to hold on to what was and you just can't as it won't be the same even if you want it to. Trying to hold on to that will just lead to depression and adjustment issues. I agree with trying to get involved in one activity and seek out things that may interest him. Usually dorms have activities that are just fun and not a commitment. Those are great ways to meet people. In college, there are lots of people looking for new friends, they just don't advertise it. So tell him not to be shy and go to something and just start chatting with someone new.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:40 PM   #17
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It sounds like you have gotten a lot of good advice. It all seems to fit with what I remember of my Freshman year (a log time ago). I remember being very lonely my first semester and came home almost every weekend. After I joined a campus spirit group 2nd semester, I made a lot of friends and didn't come home until spring break.

The only thing I would add would be to maybe go visit him for a weekend. Attend a football game together and/or find some interesting places to visit in the city. Or let him come home for some weekends. That way he would have something to look forward to during the week.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:52 AM   #18
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Oy vey op, can I relate. My freshman year was a bust. first of all I had just moved from NYC to go to school in Pittsburgh and back then Pittsburgh was not the city it is today. It was a small steel mill town. so I had to make the adjustment to small town living. Next, I only knew one other person so that was hard. Luckily my roommate and I totally hit it off.
My first term I got 2C's and 2C-'s which effectively put me on probation.

It takes a while to get your groove going. I would take the advice of previous posters, encourage him to hang in there for the entire year, go see his advisors, seek out activities that interest him. Nowadays colleges have a group for darn near every possible hobby.

I wouldn't worry about a major right now, when I started all I knew more of what I didn't want to do then what I did want to do.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:23 AM   #19
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Agree there's no reason to even be thinking about a major at this point.

I mean if someone knows what they want, has a strong interest and whatever, fine, cool, focus on it.

Plenty of people USE college to explore different areas they haven't been able to, been exposed to, had an opportunity to try out, and that's a big part of a liberal arts education.

My advice would be to look through the course catalog for next semester and NOT take only core requirements. I'm a big proponent of taking at least one ridiculous class a semester - sounds like your son needs a semester of two or three of them.

Ridiculous classes, to me, are ones that you don't "need," and wouldn't normally think of taking, but that sound fun and interesting.

Take an art class. It doesn't have to involve drawing if he can't draw. I took 3D art, photography and a host of other unusual art classes in college - just because they sounded interesting. I enjoyed every one. Some I really, really enjoyed. The 3D was one of my favourites.

Take a theatre class - technical or acting. Take a class in something academic that sounds interesting - some period in history or psychology or philosophy or science. Take a phys ed - most colleges have interesting fun ones that are only a credit. Try Karate or something if he's never done it.

Most of the classes will fit in a core under the 'three credits of X type' requirements, and it's a way to find what interests him, meet different people, have some fun (college isn't high school - take advantage!)

I agree with the above clubs, extra curricular thing but I think he also needs to see that college itself, the academic aspect, can be an awesome, fun, different growth experience. It isn't just a slog of Comp 101-type classes. Yes, he needs that stuff but mix it up and find what's interesting. It may be something he'd never have expected or tried, that he'll find he absolutely loves.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by a1tinkfans View Post
Just wanted to say AWESOME advice, and LOVE #3....my own started fencing this past summer and continues at college now
Add me to the fan club..awesome advice, exactly what I would say..
Good luck to your DS, OP.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:48 AM   #21
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I'd say give it a year. I hated school the first semester and by the end of the year I loved it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:00 AM   #22
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I remember the first semester of my professional degree in a major university far from home I was sitting in a class, thinking that I was completely pretending to belong there, that everyone else had everything figured out, they were all so much smarter than I was, that they made a mistake letting me in... It was Canadian Thanksgiving that weekend (so, around this time of year), and the Associate Dean was teaching the class. She stood up and said, "Before I start, I just want you all to know that most of the people in this class probably think that everyone else is smarter than they are, and that the school made a huge mistake letting you in. Well, it's not true. Stick with it. It will all come together and start to make sense to you, and you are NOT the only one who feels like that." Then she started the class. I felt like someone slapped me! It was really something... And she was right - after the first semester, I started realizing that I DID belong there. I was now a small fish in a big pond, and that was a big change, but it didn't mean that I wasn't going to succeed there.

Tell your son that I can GUARANTEE him that regardless of what anyone is saying or acting most kids there are also finding their ways. Once he realizes that he isn't alone, he will be OK. If he doesn't stick it out, and figure out FOR REAL whether that school is for him, he will regret it forever.

All the best to him!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:02 AM   #23
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I think Zephyrhawk's advice is spot on

I will add, there is a reason most summer camps do not allow internet or phone access between campers and parents and no visits the first 3 or 4 weeks if it is a FULL summer camp. Most often, talking to parents only makes the kids MORE homesick and prevents them from putting down roots and getting comfortable where they are.
I think it works similarly even with college aged teens and young adults. I would try to limit talking to him online or on the phone to no more than one or two fairly short calls per week (be too busy to talk or answer if you have to be) and only short and cheery emails an facebook messages.

Likewise, plan 1 or 2 weekend visits home (mid October and Thanksgiving perhaps) and otherwise have him stay on campus for the weekends. That is when he will build friendships and start to feel more at home. If he is coming "home" often then campus will always feel like a hotel room and a temporary spot to get out of quickly.

Maybe, also, plan ONE weekend when you go up and get a hotel room and visit him. I'd go just for one night so as not to monopolize the weekend and let him know you;l take him to dinner and to Target for things he needs, etc but that you are expecting him to plan what to do, where to eat, etc--you want him to show you around his new home. Maybe he'll look at things differently if he is looking at what is good to show people, etc.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:14 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
Agree there's no reason to even be thinking about a major at this point.

I mean if someone knows what they want, has a strong interest and whatever, fine, cool, focus on it.

Plenty of people USE college to explore different areas they haven't been able to, been exposed to, had an opportunity to try out, and that's a big part of a liberal arts education.

My advice would be to look through the course catalog for next semester and NOT take only core requirements. I'm a big proponent of taking at least one ridiculous class a semester - sounds like your son needs a semester of two or three of them.

Ridiculous classes, to me, are ones that you don't "need," and wouldn't normally think of taking, but that sound fun and interesting.

Take an art class. It doesn't have to involve drawing if he can't draw. I took 3D art, photography and a host of other unusual art classes in college - just because they sounded interesting. I enjoyed every one. Some I really, really enjoyed. The 3D was one of my favourites.

Take a theatre class - technical or acting. Take a class in something academic that sounds interesting - some period in history or psychology or philosophy or science. Take a phys ed - most colleges have interesting fun ones that are only a credit. Try Karate or something if he's never done it.

Most of the classes will fit in a core under the 'three credits of X type' requirements, and it's a way to find what interests him, meet different people, have some fun (college isn't high school - take advantage!)

I agree with the above clubs, extra curricular thing but I think he also needs to see that college itself, the academic aspect, can be an awesome, fun, different growth experience. It isn't just a slog of Comp 101-type classes. Yes, he needs that stuff but mix it up and find what's interesting. It may be something he'd never have expected or tried, that he'll find he absolutely loves.
Great advice


In my Freshman year I "had " to take Architectural Drawing-i was so not into it-but found it challenging and I ended up with a decent grade
Ironically, when i finished college-this ONE class was my ticket to my first job(back in the olden days when drawings were still hand drawn-now its all computers)
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
I'm a big proponent of taking at least one ridiculous class a semester - sounds like your son needs a semester of two or three of them.

Ridiculous classes, to me, are ones that you don't "need," and wouldn't normally think of taking, but that sound fun and interesting.
This.

The most ridiculous class I ever took was a 1 credit class analyzing The Lord of the Rings. My friends are still jealous I managed to fit that into my schedule. They all wanted to do it too.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:22 AM   #26
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Lots of great advice. My daughter struggled and we asked her to stay for the semester first, then for the entire year second. She slowly adjusted.

Yes to crazy classes. My daughter's turn around classes were The History of Rock and Roll, Exploring small business (it was a class where they went to eat at all the popular places in the area of the school, she had some great food and made some great friends and got an easy A and an extra few pounds), and last but not least she took Polish. She will now have a minor in it. Loved the teacher, they clicked. I think one more language is in her future.


OP you still need to make sure to look at the signs. All the advice in the world is not going to help if your son really is struggling to the point of depression and or worse.

Good luck, prayers for all of you.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:01 AM   #27
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What are his grades like? Do you know if he is failing the classes right now?

Make sure you hunker down and read all the deadlne dates of withdraw, esp. the money part.

Hate is pretty strong and being undecided makes it harder. I have to say if he is getting F's or D's pull him out.
Even if he is failing, he should not withdraw from his classes until he talks to his professors, academic advisory, and financial aid if he receives aid of any kind. The rules have changed a bit and withdrawing from a bunch of classes can impact your ability to get aid in the future and also you may end up owing the college money. If he is considering dropping out, he needs to talk to an advisor first.

I would encourage him to stick out the semester and go from there.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:14 PM   #28
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I went away to college without a car, and my parents were not going to pick me up! I made great friends right away (met some at orientation), and 25 years later, still have them. However, I too was used to coasting in HS, and my first semester GPA was 2.8! I spend the rest of college bringing that up to a 3.4.

Most of the courses that first semester were assigned to me - 8 and 9 am, which was rough (especially since I had to freedom to miss if I wanted - lol). Things got much better each semester, when I could choose interesting classes, and the times.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:18 PM   #29
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There is a lot of great information here, but I didn't see any mention of these & I think they may be helpful also. Is he doing anything physical at all? We had been worried that DD would struggle in college when she broke away from her normal routine of dance classes. Fortunately she's been doing lots of biking/walking to class, plus playing some volleyball, frisbee & dancing w/ friends. Once her schedule is a bit more under control she plans to seek out Pilates, Yoga and Zumba. Level of physical activity makes a big difference in many ways & may make your son feel better.

DD has already participated in one community service project w/ the engineering department, had fun doing it & met some really interesting people. She's in a residential engineering program, as are the kids in her dorm, but she's the only one on her floor who did the event & she's so glad she did. She wound up talking quite a bit w/ a woman who runs many of the programs within the engineering department & hopes that connection may help her open doors to a paid research position sooner rather than later -- a completely unexpected bonus she never considered when she agreed to work the project. She also wound up working for a while w/ a girl from Brazil who interestingly enough also spoke some Mandarin, among many other languages, the same as DD has for the past six years. They had so much fun they plan to get together for some social stuff soon and plan to keep in touch for other service opportunities w/ the department.

Once your son starts making some connections to his new environment he may enjoy himself much more. Unfortunately going in & rooming w/ HS friends may have been as much curse as blessing for your son. I hope things work out well for him.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #30
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My niece went to college knowing what she wanted to major in. She took an elective in geology and loved it. She changed majors to geology and went on to get her Master as well. She met her long term boyfriend in a geology class so it is all working out for her.

DD19 is a college freshman about 3.5 hours away (as far as she could go and still be in the state). OP, if I was in her shoes I would ask that she remain until at least semester's end.

Perhaps your son can talk to his RA and see if the RA can make any suggestions to help him feel more at home.
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