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Timely Issues

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.

February

  • Students are generally quite comfortable with the University and with friendships by now
  • Feelings of claustrophobia set in as winter continues; tempers tend to be short and tensions increase
  • Valentine's Day can be a bright spot in the month, or it can bring on feelings of loneliness, disappointment regarding past relationships
  • Anxiety begins over finding roommates and making living arrangements for next year
  • This is a dangerous time for alcohol use—heavy drinking is most prominent in winter 

The semester is still new, and it feels like there's plenty of time to get things done. Students tend to spend significant time with friends, and they may be a bit lax about their coursework. Students who think they need to find off-campus housing for next year may begin to panic when they can't find openings for fall. Reassure them that it's too early just yet for tenants to give notice to their landlords. 

For first-year students who never quite felt like they belonged here throughout the first semester, this is the time when they usually realize they like the University after all.   

This can be a time when students start thinking about upcoming "escapes" such as spring break or summer travel. Students need to be aware of spring break scams—if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true. The Minnesota Attorney General provides information on precautions to take related to travel packages. http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/Publications/SpringBreakScams.asp 

February in Minnesota can seem endless, especially for upperclassmen who don't have the "newness" factor going for them. A Valentine card (and maybe some candy) will be helpful, but keep in mind that students will be even more grateful to receive an unexpected cheerful message or treats toward the end of the month.