Have a Kid Going Off to College? NJ Doctor Has Some Advice
It's already been two months since high school graduation, meaning the thrill of summer is almost over for many college-bound adolescents, who are just days or weeks away from a lifestyle change like they've never experienced.
While they may be eager for the first real taste of independence, and the chance to explore somewhere different and make new friends, many incoming freshmen are also dealing with unique challenges — leaving lifelong friends behind, as well as their families, who've served as an around-the-clock support system and advice machine for the past 17 years.
The shift, in many cases, comes with both excitement and anxiety, and they're not the only ones likely dealing with conflicting emotions.
Dr. Jacqueline Kaari, chair of pediatrics at Rowan Medicine in Stratford, notes this time of year is rough on an incoming freshman's parents as well.
"Parents are happy and proud of their children for going to college, for pursuing what they want to do, but then there's also that concern that they won't be under their careful watch as the normally are," Kaari told the Townsquare News Network.
While this change can be emotionally confusing for both parties, in the end, college is a good way for teenagers to spread their wings and take the necessary steps toward becoming an adult, Kaari said.
"It's important that the adolescents at this age do start to exert some of their own independence, and that can be difficult for parents because the decisions that they make aren't always the ones parents might want them to make," she said.
And first-year college students are not completely off on their own. They still have the structure of a higher education institution, which offers resident assistants for teens living on campus, as well as counseling services for all students.
With the little time left before the tearful goodbyes, Kaari said parents can communicate to their kids the services and resources available to them at college, and let them know home is just a phone call or email away, or maybe even a quick drive.