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In just a few weeks, millions of young adults across the country will be heading to college, a move that will cause a shift in dynamics for prospective Freshmen and their families alike. Some parents and students may be feeling ready and excited for this change, while others may be struggling with feelings of anxiety and depression. With a fast approaching move-in date, here are several things to keep in mind:
  • You’ll Need Time to Adjust: Even if you’re counting down the days for this rite of passage, you’ll need time to adjust and find a new normal. If you find yourself struggling with this change, keep in mind that it’s not a sign of weakness or failure. In fact, struggling often sets the stage for a phase of development and strength. During this time, it’s important to reach out to others, and utilize available resources like counseling or group therapy.
  • You Might Experience Feelings of Grief: Grieving isn’t just reserved for those who have lost a friend or loved one, we grieve in many different ways throughout life. Grief can come from any type of separation, ending or change in our lives. Don’t let others minimize or criticize your feelings. It’s possible to be happy, proud, and excited, as well as filled with grief.
  • You May Feel Depressed or Anxious: Times of extreme transition can make you more vulnerable to feelings of depression and anxiety. If you find yourself worrying excessively or feeling down, sad, or empty, consider taking an anonymous screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. In less than three minutes you’ll be able to see if your symptoms are consistent with a common mood or anxiety disorder and you’ll be connected with local resources.
  • You’ll Still Need Each Other: Even though you may be living apart, you’ll still have a place in each other’s lives. Figure out a schedule that works for everyone — whether it’s a weekly phone call, an ongoing email thread, or a nightly text.
  • Don’t Be Surprised if you Enjoy your New Found Freedom: For parents who are missing your child, taking some time for yourself and your own hobbies may feel strange or selfish, but it’s not. Being your best self can help boost your happiness can have a positive impact on the relationships in your life. For students, learning to create your own support network at school and making independent decisions can be freeing.

You’re a family and you’ll get through this life transition together. Remember to be open, and respectful of each other’s feelings during this process. Together, you’ll find a new normal, one that will allow you to continue to grow together.

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