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Old 09-25-2012, 01:44 PM   #31
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Just wanted to say AWESOME advice, and LOVE #3....my own started fencing this past summer and continues at college now
Ditto! Don't know what it is about fencing, but my freshman son also signed up for fencing and loves it. No prior experience required and he says he's getting quite a workout. And it was only $20 to join.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #32
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aww...((HUGS)) being a college freshman mom myself..that would kill me. My dd made the dance team last spring..long before college started. She danced with them over the summer, so by the time we dropped her off she already had built in friends!! I agree with everyone, is he into any clubs or activities to keep busy?
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:30 PM   #33
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A few things:

If his friends have majors depending on the school that may be why they love many of their classes and he doesn't. Have him find out when he needs to have a major chosen to graduate on time. Some schools like mine because of co-op requirements we started classes for our major the first semester. You could be undecided all of freshman year but after that if you didn't have a major you probably wouldn't be out in time due to prereqs.

If he doesn't need to choose a major for a while have him still think about what he is interested in and take classes towards the majors he thinks he may want to do (if he wants to major in accounting, psychology or biology and hasn't decided take early classes of those three) the reason for this is the worst classes of my entire time at college were some of those first year gen ed ones. The had nothing to do with what I was interested in... the writing class and economics were the worst.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:09 AM   #34
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I don't necessarily agree with the idea that a major should be the last thing on his mind -- I mean, college is pretty expensive, and having him take classess randomly much means he will almost certainly need more than four years to complete his degree. However, the need for a decision should be tempered with his adjustment to college -- without both, he won't be successful long-term.

Unfortunately, you probably have 4-6 weeks before he has to start thinking about registration for spring classes. Clearly, sticking to some basic classes that he'll need for any major is a good, safe choice.

Regardless, the question should never be, "What should my major be?" Rather, the question should be, "For what career do I want to prepare?" Lots of majors are loads of fun to study . . . yet don't really lead to a job. A trip to the school's counseling center might be in order: They can give him some career aptitude tests, etc. that might help him consider what he really would like to do with his life.

Next summer, see if he can find a job that'll give him a glimpse into whatever he thinks he wants to do as a career. Even if it pays less than another job, this could be more valuable to him in the long run.

And try to help him understand that he's not the only one who feels this way. Other people just aren't admitting it. No one wants his college friends to think he's the slackard who is having trouble in classes, no one wants his college friends to think he doesn't know exactly what he plans to do in the future. But lots of freshmen are going through this very same, "What am I going to do with my life?" concern.

I agree with those who say DON'T let him leave now. If he genuinely hates it, let him leave at the semester. If he leaves mid-way through, he may well decide that he was incapable and won't ever want to return to college -- even a different college, even when he's more ready. Fall break is probably coming up soon, and I assume he's coming home. That'd be a good time to talk about whether he should remain at this college or whether another one would be better suited to his needs.

Not knowing how to study is very common. High school is all but fail-proof these days. An intelligent student can get by with paying attention in class and completing the assignments. In contast, in college a student must know how to read complicated texts, assimilate the material, and do well on the tests and papers -- without the teacher breaking things down into small bites with lots of reviews, as they do in high school. You can google study skills online and send him some articles to read. Encourage him to get a planner and schedule his reading /study time. Tell him that flash cards aren't just for elementary kids. Are study sessions or tutoring available for his hardest subjects? If not, encourage him to ask around and see if anyone else wants to start up a study group; he's not alone in this. If he's smart enough to get into college, he can figure this out -- it's mostly a matter of realizing that he needs to work at studying, then developing the self-discipline to follow through with it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:19 AM   #35
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Not knowing how to study is very common. High school is all but fail-proof these days. An intelligent student can get by with paying attention in class and completing the assignments. In contast, in college a student must know how to read complicated texts, assimilate the material, and do well on the tests and papers -- without the teacher breaking things down into small bites with lots of reviews, as they do in high school. You can google study skills online and send him some articles to read. Encourage him to get a planner and schedule his reading /study time. Tell him that flash cards aren't just for elementary kids. Are study sessions or tutoring available for his hardest subjects? If not, encourage him to ask around and see if anyone else wants to start up a study group; he's not alone in this. If he's smart enough to get into college, he can figure this out -- it's mostly a matter of realizing that he needs to work at studying, then developing the self-discipline to follow through with it.
Time management is sooo important in college. It is so easy to waste time when you are only in class 16-18 hours a week. Have him plan his week to include study time. It use to be said to study 2-3 hours for each hour spent in class.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #36
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No need to declare a major. If they force him, just have him choose some generic major. His classes are probably mostly non major classes right now anyway. Have him find a Frisbee Golf or other sport team-non NCAA, of course. Send him care packages of your family foods. I think bad food is one common cause of freshman stress. Are his friends partying and making him uncomfortable? Also and big cause of freshman blues-people partying all around and not wanting to participate. Is it too late for him to drop a class? Perhaps if he took a little of the academic stress off...he'd find the rest easier.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #37
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Just my thought...

Maybe you either "feel" it or you don't??. Could it be the university itself? He isn't feeling it there? For example: I wouldn't want to stay at BC/YC because I have no desire of staying there, but would prefer to stay at WL and the Polynesian. Though BC/YC is a beautiful resort that sits next to Epcot, I just don't have that "feel" for it. Maybe it's not what he expected? Maybe he wants to try a different university, closer to home or a smaller university?

Too much on his plate? I hear so many students take too much credit hours and they complain about not having enough time to study and do homework and it effects their grades. They under estimate how much work/reading there is at college level and everything goes very fast. A thick book of college Biology are done in 15 meetings or 30 meetings but shorter hours compared to a whole year of Biology in HS.

Homesick... being away from what he is accustomed to?

Not knowing the unknowns? ...and this can cause some anxiety.

He needs to talk to the counselor and see what direction he needs to take.

Maybe he is not ready to go to a big university? Some that just graduated from HS go straight to community college to save money, closer to home, and because they are not sure what direction they are going to, this is a small step to find out what they want to do in life.
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Last edited by *Fantasia*; 09-26-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:07 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
I don't necessarily agree with the idea that a major should be the last thing on his mind -- I mean, college is pretty expensive, and having him take classess randomly much means he will almost certainly need more than four years to complete his degree. However, the need for a decision should be tempered with his adjustment to college -- without both, he won't be successful long-term.
To a certain extent, I agree with this statement. It is important during Freshman year to take care of some of the classes which are required for all majors. Also, if you have some sort of idea of the general area of study you want to go into (for instance, "I want to be a scientist!" instead of "I want to study Immunology!") you can start focusing in those more general areas. However, I knew way too many folks who took a whole bunch of classes in their chosen field, then ended up changing that field and having to take a whole bunch more classes because the ones they originally took were completely useless. Their focus on a major early on actually resulted in them taking more classes. I knew one guy who started out in basic liberal arts, then switched to the engineering school (which is a major undertaking, by the way), and only then realized he was not really cut out to be an engineer, so he switched back and ended up studying environmental sciences. I knew another guy who was sure he would be a scientist and took all the basic Freshman intro-science courses. He's now a poet with a creative writing degree. Those people I know who went into college with no preconcieved notions about majors may have ended up taking a few more classes here and there than other more focused people, but they tended to end up with multiple majors (I have three myself) or minors as evidence of their extra work.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:22 PM   #39
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To a certain extent, I agree with this statement. It is important during Freshman year to take care of some of the classes which are required for all majors. Also, if you have some sort of idea of the general area of study you want to go into (for instance, "I want to be a scientist!" instead of "I want to study Immunology!") you can start focusing in those more general areas. However, I knew way too many folks who took a whole bunch of classes in their chosen field, then ended up changing that field and having to take a whole bunch more classes because the ones they originally took were completely useless. Their focus on a major early on actually resulted in them taking more classes. I knew one guy who started out in basic liberal arts, then switched to the engineering school (which is a major undertaking, by the way), and only then realized he was not really cut out to be an engineer, so he switched back and ended up studying environmental sciences. I knew another guy who was sure he would be a scientist and took all the basic Freshman intro-science courses. He's now a poet with a creative writing degree. Those people I know who went into college with no preconcieved notions about majors may have ended up taking a few more classes here and there than other more focused people, but they tended to end up with multiple majors (I have three myself) or minors as evidence of their extra work.
This. Regardless of major, you will always need a passel of elective credits. No reason they can't be in something random.

Also, as noted here, and in the post in which the poster's daughter randomly took a class in Polish and is now minoring in the language, people who try a bunch of things can often spend LESS time, because they find an actual interest, as opposed to trying to take all the classes to something it turns out they then don't want and having to start over.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:29 PM   #40
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This. Regardless of major, you will always need a passel of elective credits. No reason they can't be in something random.

Also, as noted here, and in the post in which the poster's daughter randomly took a class in Polish and is now minoring in the language, people who try a bunch of things can often spend LESS time, because they find an actual interest, as opposed to trying to take all the classes to something it turns out they then don't want and having to start over.
Again you have to be careful of this... My undergrad degree had exactly 2 free elective classes. The rest of the electives were "pick from this list" type of things. So if you took just any random classes that weren't on the lists for even one quarter you would already be behind. Even classes like Math that you would think everyone takes could be problematic as depending on your major depends on which of the calculus classes were required
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:28 AM   #41
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Update pg 3

Just wanted to let all of you know that I had my DS read all of your responses. He also met with counseling services on Thursday and was still 100% certain, he wanted to come home. DH picked him up and brought him home, the 1st words out of his mouth were, "I'm so happy to be home." That evening he went for wings with a friend, who is a high school senior, and they talked about things, bear in mind, he discussed this with anyone he could think of. Anyway, when he got home, he said he was confused and still didn't know what to do. I told him the decision was his, and only his, to make. He didn't have any class on Friday so if he did want to go back he could, he hadn't notified the school yet of his decision. On Friday, I got home from work and he said that he was 100% certain staying at school was the way to go. He then received an email fropm a professor who was wondering if he was okay. He emailed back and told her how he was struggling, with being away and with the schoolwork. She thanked him for his honesty and promised to help him any way she could. We were both very impressed! So, I'm happy to report that he will be back on campus by Monday. I can't thank all of you enough for all of your responses, they were certainly very helpful. One thing I didn't mention is that his 1st night at school, he had his IPhone stolen out of his hand from behind while he was using it. I can't believe the 360 degree change in his mindset, but, I am very happy with his decision to go back. By the way, the college he attends is Temple University.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #42
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OP, it sounds from your post as if your DS is a freshman who just started college this year. If so, I have three pieces of advice:

1. There is absolutely no reason on God's green earth that he has to be thinking about a major now. If it was second semester of his junior year, then this would be a different story, but not for a first semester freshman. The only thing that picking a major this early can do is screw you up when (not if, in my experience for most college students it's a when) you change it later. I can count on one hand the people I know who picked a major that early and stuck with it, and half of those people only stuck it out because they felt they had to.

2. A lot of freshmen find the first semester hard. I didn't, but I knew a lot of people who did. My dorm room was a bit of a haven for all my friends who were struggling with issues similar to your son's. A lot of us get to college not knowing how to study or balance our time, because we've never had to do those things before. Most of us pick it up before the end of the first year. It just takes a little getting used to.

3. Extra-curriculars. College is not about academics. Yes, I know that's counter-intuitive. It is also, obviously, about academics. But in my estimation the most important aspect is about finding out who you are and who your friends are now that you're an adult. It's about finding out that the people you thought would always be your friends in high school are on a slow spiraling path towards Facebook acquaintances. If it really were only about getting a good paying job, then everyone would be best served by starting work right out of high school (perhaps combining that with community college). We send our children away to school so that they learn to function outside their comfort zone, so that they meet people outside their social circle, and so that they try something totally new. Suggest that he involve himself in something (anything) outside classes. Heck, if I were an incoming freshman these days I would totally join the local quidditch team! As it was, I chose to try fencing. It was a decision that changed my life and shaped pretty much everything about me today.
DITTO Very, very good advice.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #43
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Just wanted to let all of you know that I had my DS read all of your responses. He also met with counseling services on Thursday and was still 100% certain, he wanted to come home. DH picked him up and brought him home, the 1st words out of his mouth were, "I'm so happy to be home." That evening he went for wings with a friend, who is a high school senior, and they talked about things, bear in mind, he discussed this with anyone he could think of. Anyway, when he got home, he said he was confused and still didn't know what to do. I told him the decision was his, and only his, to make. He didn't have any class on Friday so if he did want to go back he could, he hadn't notified the school yet of his decision. On Friday, I got home from work and he said that he was 100% certain staying at school was the way to go. He then received an email fropm a professor who was wondering if he was okay. He emailed back and told her how he was struggling, with being away and with the schoolwork. She thanked him for his honesty and promised to help him any way she could. We were both very impressed! So, I'm happy to report that he will be back on campus by Monday. I can't thank all of you enough for all of your responses, they were certainly very helpful. One thing I didn't mention is that his 1st night at school, he had his IPhone stolen out of his hand from behind while he was using it. I can't believe the 360 degree change in his mindset, but, I am very happy with his decision to go back. By the way, the college he attends is Temple University.

This might have been BIG LIFE Lesson #1- don't give up too easily. I'm really happy to hear he returned.

BEST WISHES to your Son and you too. The transformation of HS to College is an adjustment for the entire family.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:04 PM   #44
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Great news!!
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:23 PM   #45
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