New College Stressors: Living Away from Home
Moving away from home to a new independent life is an exhilarating time, but several weeks into the semester, many students find themselves longing for the familiarity of their old routine and the comforts of home. This is particularly true when they discover that their roommate situation is less than ideal.
When your student shares feelings of loneliness, anxiety or uncertainty about the choices he or she has made, there are ways you can help.
- Listen attentively. Your student may simply need to express doubts, fears and feelings about being away from you. Giving them your undivided attention when they need to share will confirm that you are still there for them.
- Understand their concerns while remaining optimistic. Tell your student that it is perfectly normal for him to feel homesick or have difficulty living with someone new. Explain that these challenges provide good opportunities for personal growth and adaptation.
- Share your own stories. Encourage your student by recalling some of the challenges you faced at her age and how you overcame them.
- Ask about campus involvement. The more connections they make on campus, the more new friends and positive opportunities they will have to create a new sense of home. Remind them that this is a great time to explore new interests.
- Direct them to resources on campus. Assure them that seeking help is a sign of maturity and wisdom.
UT Dallas offers several resources to serve students who are facing challenges. Our residential life Peer Advisors, or PAs, are trained to help mediate roommate issues and work with residents who have concerns. For students living off campus, Orientation Team Mentors, or OTMs, are available to meet with students and provide similar guidance.
The Student Counseling Center and the Galerstein Women's Center offer personal counseling and self-help materials for students at no charge. On October 13th, the Student Counseling Center and the Student Wellness Center will host a workshop titled Roommate Conflict Resolution as part of the Counseling Center's Successful Student Seminar Series.
For more information and links to helpful resources, visit utdallas.edu/counseling/parents.