College: A time of transition
College is a period of transition for the student and family as a whole. Both the student and family will be adjusting to new roles and changes in their environment. Parents can be supportive by allowing their child a sense of autonomy in making choices which are a part of the normal developmental and maturational process. It is helpful for you to be involved in your child’s life without making decisions for them. Your upbringing and values are assets your child possesses and will influence their problem solving. Some of the changes you can expect your child to experience will be in the following areas:
Work load transitions
Students at Rice often feel overwhelmed and sometimes inadequate and incompetent due to the rigor of work expected from them. This is often a common feeling early on as they are adjusting to their new demands and have a desire to be the “star” student they were prior to coming to Rice. It is important to reassure your child that while the new demands may seem daunting, that they are capable and with time will adjust to these demands. There are also many on-campus resources to help facilitate the development of good study habits, time management, and self care skills. See on campus resources (will have link to on campus resources page). Please encourage your child to access these resources.
Having a greater sense of Autonomy and Choice in Time Management
For many students, this will be the first time moving away from home. With greater autonomy and newly acquired independence comes the anxiety of new responsibilities. They may re-evaluate held belief systems and explore different ideas, values, and identities as they are exposed to new learning, people of diverse backgrounds, and new experiences. This can be difficult for parents who see their children diverging from long standing upheld values, however it is important for the growth of your child as an individual for she/he to find her/his own identity. It may be comforting for parents to know that most students do not completely divorce themselves from their family values, but rather enhance and broaden them.
Developing New Relationships & Changes in Old Relationships
Many new students are eager to make new friends and at times may “cling” to a particular person/group. This is a vulnerable time as students want to fit in and feel understood. It usually takes time to develop quality and meaning in their relationships. You should encourage your child to be patient yet persevere and get involved with activities where they are likely to meet people with common interests, but also to take risks and try activities or join groups where they can meet people different from them. Remind them that college is a unique opportunity where they get to engage with and become of aware of ideas and people of disparate perspectives and worldviews.
This may be the first time your child has to share a room or share a room with someone new. At times conflict may arise. Students do not have to be “best buddies” with their roommate. It often helps to have open communication and discuss differences early. Mutual respect for individual values with regard to lifestyle, personal space, privacy, and upkeep of the room should be discussed early on. Negotiating respect and communicating differences without becoming defensive can be one of the most valuable skills learned.
The Rice Counseling Center may be one option for a student having difficulty with transition. There are also other places a student can go to seek help. Please encourage your student to seek out the appropriate services for support.
Masters or Resident Associates, in their college are available for general personal or academic support.
Students can also speak with their academic advisors, departmental advisors, the Academic Advising Office or Dean of Undergraduate office for specific academic support. (On campus resources link)
If you are worried about your child’s adjustment or think they may have a psychological concern you should encourage your child to make an appointment by calling the Rice Counseling Center at 713-348-4867. If your child has had a long- standing history of counseling, it is best that you make arrangements for their counseling prior to coming to Rice. (Community referrals link)
What are confidentiality laws as they pertain to my child in Counseling?
Due to state and federal laws, psychologists cannot share information with others (including family members) about their counseling with a student without written consent from the student. This is why we may not be able to provide specific information about your student if you call us for consultation. The only situations where we may legally breach confidentiality is if the student is gravely ill and may be in imminent harm to self or others. If you have questions regarding confidentiality, please contact our Office at (713) 348-4867.