||The Emotional Ups and Downs of First Year Students
Patrick Stack, D. Min., LMFT, LPC, NCC, CASAC
Director of Counseling/Life Development
The gigantic changes your daughters and sons have recently experienced frequently get lost at this time of the year. On the one hand, there is the excitement of starting their college/university career. On the other hand, they have recently graduated from high school and no longer see their high school teachers and friends. Their familiarity with the procedures or “ropes” of their high school has ended and now they are walking onto new turf at Webster University, meeting strangers across the board--teachers, students, housekeepers, staff, public safety offers, etc. Some students may experience grief and loss but are not sure what is happening, let alone what to do.
If you suspect your student is uncharacteristically “down” or “sad” ask them if they are missing being a high school student. Remind your daughter or son about the various emotional changes they are experiencing. Assure him or her that all of these changes are both exciting and scary, which can also contribute to a very wide emotional experience and response. Some student’s emotional response is to keep it in and then have a catharsis outburst. Other students may question whether it makes sense for them to pursue a university degree at this time. Some other students may get themselves involved in unhealthy relationships, whether with another person, work, or alcohol and drugs. Frequently these unhealthy relationships are a defense mechanism to avoid the grief and loss.
If you suspect your student is having a difficult transition, you might suggest that they utilize the Counseling/Life Development Center. There are five therapists who are eager to assist with the students’ transition. Remind your student that the services are confidential and at no cost. We are located in a house at 540 Garden Avenue, near the parking garage and just behind the International House and the Public Safety House. Feel free to contact me with any concern. If I can’t help you I will direct you to someone who can help. 314-968-7030. email@example.com