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.
June, July, August
Students who are taking summer classes find life very different on campus during the summer. While the classes are conducted more casually--instructors seem laid back, and students tend to be a bit less competitive and friendlier--the pace is quite intense. Most courses schedule class time four or five days a week, and sessions meet for several hours straight. Students have to study every evening to keep up, but they often feel like they learn more in summer classes by working more intentionally and efficiently.
Students who go home for the summer may seem bored and anxious to get back to school. The boxes they brought home might sit unopened for weeks, or just get stashed into the corner of the room—there’s a belief that, “I’ll be leaving again pretty soon, so why unpack?” In many cases, the initial excitement about visiting with high school friends at the beginning of the summer fades into not particularly wanting to hang out with old friends. Students change significantly during their first and second years at college, and previous friendships don’t always work. Conversely, former classmates who didn’t hold much appeal in high school now seem more interesting. Students who already have made plans for fall living arrangements look forward to going back to the residence hall or moving into an apartment, and summer can seem too long. Those who have not finalized housing plans will be anxious and unsettled, which will affect their attitude toward home, school, and family. Students can search for rental housing at the following website: http://rentals.tc.umn.edu/
Students who are beginning college in the fall can be hard to live with during their last summer before college. The excitement they felt when they received their college acceptance letters turns to fear when they begin to realize what it all means. They are facing significant changes in their lives, and—although they won’t admit it—they are nervous. Consequently, they can be very irritable. In some cases, the annoyance is heaped on just one parent or sibling, and the student gets along just fine with the rest of the family. This unpleasantness comes from frustrations in several different areas:
- Most entering freshmen feel especially close to their high school friends. As they approach a separation from these friends, they are unsure who they will rely on.
- First-year students are going into a situation where they don’t know what to expect. They want to arrive at the University looking like they know what they’re doing, but they don’t know yet how other people on campus dress and act, how to find their way around, who to hang around with, or even what vocabulary to use.
- They know their parents will not be around to solve problems and give advice. They look forward to this independence, but they also find it scary to know that any mistakes they make are their own mistakes.
- They resent questions and limitations. Since they will be on their own soon, they feel they need to “practice” and prove they can make decisions about their own actions. They need to prove this to themselves more than to their parents.
- The “breaking away” process includes defining themselves as different from their family, and there may be some accompanying anger and hostility. The parent who receives most of the hostility is usually the one who shares the most personality characteristics—or, in the student’s mind, the most significant characteristics—with the student.