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.
- Students develop a routine; campus begins to feel more like home
- Problems with roommates crop up
- Doubts about social life; concern that “I’m not like these people”
- Anxiety about relationships with friends and boyfriend/girlfriend from home
- Sense of academic standing develops; comparison with other students
- Mid-terms begin
- Sophomores and juniors should be stretching their boundaries and seeking new challenges; good options are campus organizations, mentorships, and internships
- For seniors, deadlines for graduate school exams and applications loom; those who are looking for jobs after graduation should be working with their advisers to review their resume and find job leads
Initial friendships, formed during the first few weeks of class, begin to shift. As students get to know each other better, they tend to compare their personal values and beliefs with those of their roommates, neighbors, and new friends. They may be meeting people who are very different than their relatives and high school classmates, or even their classmates from previous years on campus. These new friends might hold very different values, but students find they like and enjoy being with them. This causes students to explore the beliefs they grew up with. This is a growing process throughout the academic experience. Sometimes freshmen and sophomores challenge or reject their family's values; the traditional values are often reinstated, though, by the senior year.
First-year students might find the outgoing, social people they met the first few weeks of school do not have the depth and sincerity they want in a friend. The students who kept to themselves at first find that others are seeking them out, and the shy students gain confidence and make more friends.
After being in class for a few weeks, students begin to realize how much work they have and how challenging classes can be. Over the course of the month, the academic pressure is complicated by the realization that quizzes, mid-terms, and major papers are scheduled, then students must start thinking about registering for next semester.
October is also the time when reality hits about debit and credit cards and being responsible for finances. Summer job savings can dry up fast. Students often feel significant financial strain at this time of year.
Students who are new to apartment living find it's not as easy as they expected. Bills are due and must be apportioned among roommates, sharing meals is harder than they expected, and the roommates they thought would be perfect turn out to have flaws. A fair amount of time needs to be spent reassessing roommate agreements.