This new phase of life can present a whole bunch of challenges and roadblocks to navigate. It can be a bit confusing because this is a positive change, right? The brain can’t distinguish between positive and negative at this point. It just sees change and change is scary.
Initially, parents/supporters and students may enter into the honeymoon stage, which is just what you would expect from the name. Everything is new and exciting – filled with potential. It’s easy for students to get caught up in the hype and energy of orientation events, the prospect of new friends and new freedoms. It’s all so awesome!
And then, “real life” sinks in and that excitement can be quick to fade. Students start to realize that the supports they counted on over the past number of years may not be quite so available to them. Everything is “different” and it’s not going back to “normal”. This realization can bring along with it a feeling of homesickness – even for those still living at home. Pressure can start building because things just aren’t the same.
But then, things tend to hit an upswing as students settle into their new normal and see some successes. They have an opportunity to face situations where they can effectively plan and problem solve, which helps to build their confidence that they can tackle this new situation. In short, they experience an adjustment period.
Following that, however, students can feel a little disjointed and may question where they fit. They may feel like they’re on a roller-coaster, trying to navigate everything that’s coming their way. They may feel distance from friends and family and start questioning if they are on the right track in doing what they’re doing. A need for independence can cause internal conflict with also wanting support and reassurance.
Finally, with a bit of time, students start to settle into a flow. They know what to expect and have become more involved and/or connected to their new school. They are more confident in their choices and accepting of this new phase in life.
Some tips for parents/supporters:
Bobbi Beuree, Certified CAN Coach + Facilitator is located in Halifax, NS, and provides interactive 1:1 coaching services, as well as corporate workshops.