Preparing for Strong Performance: A Student and Parent Collaboration
College is a Journey
College is an experience filled with great excitement but formidable challenges. You do not really know the ins and outs of it until you are knee-deep in the books and classes. All you hear about college for the most part is how much fun it is going to be and how it is going to be the time of your life. As a graduate of NC State with the Class of 2023, my time at State was amazing. I transformed the most for the better during college but I also faced the hardest struggles of my life during college. Your child who is at NC State already or who is starting in the near future will struggle. Whether those struggles are with academics, social life, family dynamics, or any other topic, understand that those challenges take a toll on your child. The mental health of your child should be prioritized. Support your child rather than pressuring them to perform when the pressure to perform is already incredibly high in college.
Together is Stronger
You and your child should work together when it comes to their mental health. This does not come into existence for me until my senior year of college. I was always quiet when it came to speaking about my struggles. My goal was to overcome them by myself. I did not feel like I needed anyone else to help me and I felt the stigma that exists for reaching out for help. That is why I stayed quiet. Before it may be too late for you to help, be the first one to tell your child that you are here for them when they are in crisis. While I finally stepped up to the plate and told my twin sister and parents that they were going to be the people I reach out to when I am in crisis, I wish I had not kept quiet for as long as I did. If your student is quiet, be patient but check in and tell them how much you care about them and their mental health.
Moving Forward and Succeeding
Once you and your student have acknowledged that they will go to you in times of crisis it is critical that you do this one thing; listen, listen, and listen more. When they come to you with a struggle they have been dealing with, listen. When they call you asking to talk about something, listen. When they are not as talkative as they have been, ask them if they are ok but then, listen. For me, my struggle was often because I had a lack of control. I did not know what came next for me in life and if I wanted to go down a certain path. The uncertainty plagued me and might plague your student. Do not force them down any path, instead help them down the path they are creating for themselves. Your goal is to prepare your student for strong performance. This preparation never stops. Take care of yourself and take care of your student.