Time for Something New
The beginning of each school year starts with opportunities as well as challenges. When your student begins his/her freshman year, you are well aware of these transitions. Of course your first year student will be meeting new friends, living in a dorm, finding their way around campus, figuring out time management and school/life balance, as well as navigating the city of Boston.
Your awareness of these new challenges and preparedness for them, help to ease this transition period. What may take parents/guardians by surprise is that each year comes with new opportunities, challenges, transitions, and re-starts.
If you have a sophomore this year, your student may be apprehensive to begin. This time of transition is often missed and/or difficult to anticipate.
I must admit that I was unprepared for my daughter’s transition to sophomore year. I thought after being on the BU campus for eight plus months she had it all figured out. She had a group of friends, was in her second year in the College of General Studies (CGS), knew her way around campus, and was well acclimated with Boston. That said, the beginning of sophomore year wasn’t easy for my daughter. She was indeed apprehensive to begin again.
After some pressing, she confided that her freshman year friends, were friends based upon location—they all lived in the same dorm or went to the same school. They were not necessarily friends with mutual interests, values, and goals. Instead they clung to each other, happy to have someone to go to the dining hall with but yearning for more fulfilling connections. She also confessed that she hadn’t taken advantage of extracurricular activities on campus. I was surprised to learn of this aspect of her freshman year as she had always been so social in high school. Finally, she admitted that she hadn’t done as well academically as she had hoped during her first year.
She was being hard on herself, her own worst critic. I advised my daughter that this was the perfect time for a re-start. She was in a new dorm with a roommate she had selected—together they could meet many new friends, join different clubs and organizations, and create a more fulfilling social network.
She also had better understanding of the academic rigor on campus, how to balance her academic work and social activities and she was more prepared to ask for help with her academics. She had learned that resources such as academic advisors, professors, and tutors at the Education Resource Center (ERC) were at her disposal and willing and able to help her—all she needed to do was ask for help.
When I left her on campus after move-in, I too was apprehensive. As I said, I was surprised by her nervousness but having freshman experiences which did not meet my daughter’s expectations created a foundation to build upon her sophomore year, and it was exciting to follow her next chapter.
Here’s how you can support your sophomore:
• Be a good listener.
• Let your daughter/son know they should not let their freshman year define them.
• Encourage a re-start and take advantage of a new school year and new beginnings. Encourage him/her to attend events, hall meetings, to explore Boston, and to join different clubs and organizations.
• If your student feels they haven’t made the friends they envisioned then take advantage of attending some of the many events on campus, they may just meet a new friend!
• Talk with your student about taking advantage of all the academic support services BU offers through the ERC, new beginnings are a terrific time to explore what BU has to offer to set them up for success.
Each new school year is greeted with excitement and apprehensions, remember the value of a re-start, and enjoy the next chapter of the BU experience!