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.
- Sense of excitement, independence, confidence
- Testing of limits and boundaries; tendency to “overdo” by sleeping too much, partying too much, studying too much, or spending too much time with friends
- Experimentation with hair and clothing styles, food choices
- Questions and doubts about roommates
- Toward the end of the month, insecurity about ability to do coursework; fear of being “over my head”
- Anxiety about first tests and papers
- Doubts about choice of school, choice of classes
This month represents the biggest change many first-year students have ever experienced—new surroundings, a new lifestyle, new people, and above all, new responsibilities. Emotions are strong; at any given time, students will either love the University or hate it, but their feelings may change rapidly between the two emotions.
During the first two weeks of school, students quickly become familiar with the campus. Friendships develop rapidly, and by the end of the second week, most first-year students no longer feel “new.” Some students sample every opportunity that comes along; others find it difficult to make the first step to try anything new.
Quiet students may experience mild depression as they see their roommates and neighbors forming close relationships, while shyness prevents them from reaching out to others. Many students, especially those from small towns, find the big-city atmosphere of the Twin Cities to be enticing and exciting, and they may neglect to focus on studies.
For returning students, this may feel like a new beginning and a chance to recommit to serious academics. In some cases, the joy of seeing friends again after the summer drives a social atmosphere; for others it may be a time when they seem more focused than ever before.
Typically, it all moderates within a few weeks.