The weather, the academic cycle, and even the athletic teams can affect your student's temperament and productivity as the year goes by. Some of the issues that are likely to affect students this time of year are listed below.
- Mid-term grades are in, and students now know where they stand
- Roommate problems and apartment issues may boil over or—if they are already at a critical point--be resolved
- Pressure builds surrounding coursework and other activities
- Campus friendships become a student’s primary support
- Excitement/anxiety about going home for Thanksgiving
- Coursework, tests, and papers intensify right before and right after Thanksgiving
- Stress begins to grow as students think about signing up for Spring semester classes
- Financial strain
November in Minnesota is often gray, cold, and depressing. We might have heavy snowstorms and temperatures below zero by the end of the month. Health is at risk as the immune system is challenged by weather, mental outlook, anxieties, and late-night studying. Flu and colds spread among students. Parents can help by sending notes of encouragement and reminding students to take care of themselves.
In early November, students new to financial management may realize that their bank accounts are scraping bottom.
The trip home for Thanksgiving is both an event to look forward to and yet another deadline in a stressful schedule. Over Thanksgiving weekend, students may express grave concerns about how their coursework is going. Nevertheless, those who go home are unlikely to spend much time studying over the long weekend and will probably be on the phone or visiting with high school friends most of the time.
For first-year students as well as for returning students, the visit home is a time to compare their college friends with the relationships they have with their old friends, and many begin to wonder how they will maintain these long-time, home-town friendships.
For some first-year students and their families, Thanksgiving raises issues about personal independence versus family responsibilities. There may be challenges over meal plans, household chores, curfews, and time spent with friends. For upperclassmen, Thanksgiving is a reminder that they are now guests in their family home, and the University community is becoming their "real" home.
Students who don’t go home for Thanksgiving are likely to undergo some loneliness and sadness—even if staying on campus was their own choice.
For more ideas of what to expect when students return home for the Thanksgiving break see Holiday Suggestions for Parents of College Students.