Are “the best years of your life” in college, making you miserable?
3 Easy Tips To Help You Make The Most of Your College Years.
College is supposed to be this amazing time in a person’s life. Young adults get their first real taste of freedom as college freshmen. It’s terrifying and exciting all at once. You’ve heard all the stories about how people find their best friends in college. During the week, with only three or four hours of classes to actually attend, friends meet up at various study halls or out on the mall on pretty days to study or throw a football. On weekends there are football games and dances and frat parties to attend. It’s like one big, awesome summer camp for 18 to 21 year olds.
Except what if it isn’t that great? What if you aren’t making great friends. What if your roommate is a jerk and plays terrible music day and night. What if you don’t even like football? Meanwhile, all around you, everyone else seems to be living it up. You feel alone and cheated out of some great promise of joy and happiness.
So what should you do? Don’t give up hope. Sometimes it takes a little work to figure out where you fit in. Look around at the people you do know, even if only casually. Everyone isn’t into football and partying. What do they do for fun? The quiet girl down the hall might be on the equestrian team or maybe she is part of a volunteer group that you might like. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. People love to give advice even if they don’t have a clue who you are.
1. Go try new things. Most campuses have a ton of different groups and activities you can get involved in. Check them out. Keep going back to the ones that really speak to you. It can take people a while to get used to your face and begin to include you in conversation so be patient. You could also ask the leaders in a group if there is anything you can do to help out.
2. Say hello to people in class. Ask them what they thought about the homework or the big project coming up. Making small talk isn’t always the easiest thing to do but its a start. You might be surprised to hear that people often see someone who is shy as being stuck up or cold when in reality they are just quiet types.
3. Sometimes it helps to get some outside support. Go to your campus counseling center or look for a therapist in your area. Maryland Modern Family Counseling is located on the campus of Towson University so feel free to give us a call to set up an appointment today.
1. Going out for a one on one date? Until you know your guy well, keep to public places, don’t head back to the dorm for that one thing he forgot. You can always wait in the car or lobby.
2. Make sure your girlfriends know where you are and when you will be back. Arrange for a check in call at some point in the evening.
3. Your friends are your best protection. If you are heading out for a night of a partying, sit down with your girlfriends and decide what your limits are. Do you want to dance on the bar, take off your shirt, have a one night stand? If not, let them know so they can intervene if necessary. Stick to whatever sober arrangements you make and don’t let your friend do anything she will regret, no matter what she says in her drunken stupor. She may cuss you out in the moment but she will thank you the next day.
4. Know your limits with alcohol. If you feel more drunk than you normally would after one or two drinks its time to call a friend and go home. Date rape drugs can cause you to feel much more impaired than usual so trust your instincts.
5. Rapists are not necessarily creepy guys who give you a bad feeling. Many of the scariest individuals are actually quite charming “pillar of the community” types.
There is no right way to respond if rape does occur. Our natural response to danger will take over. All animals, including people, respond to crisis in one of three ways, fight, flight or freeze. If you or one of your friends has been raped, seek medical help as soon as possible. Processing this sort of trauma with a counselor can also help prevent ongoing psychological repercussions.
Once upon a time cutting was basically unheard of. Now it is a surprisingly common issues among teenagers. Although girls tend to cut more frequently, boys also struggle with self injury. Cutting generally starts in early adolescents and continues into the early 20’s.
Cutting is not done for the purposes of suicide. It is instead, more of a coping method to manage overwhelming feelings such as sadness and anxiety. This is not to say that cutters do not feel suicidal but cutting is generally not a suicide attempt.
Because cutting has become so commonplace in middle and upper class families, parents sometimes do not take it as seriously as they might have even ten years ago. Even if your child is cutting but not drawing blood it is important to take these behaviors as a serious cry for help. It is better to be wrong than to blow off your child’s feelings as a silly teenage fad.
1. Take the signs of self harm seriously.
2. Contact a therapist as soon as possible.
3. Express your love and concern to your child.
1. Freak out. That never helps anything.
2. Place blame on yourself, your child, or anyone else.
3. Ignore it and hope it goes away.
Parenting is an ever changing adventure. You don’t have to be the expert, but do your research. Learn about the resources in your area and online. In the long run we can only do our best and leave the rest up to fate.
Its a scarey virtual world out there. Kids and teens can look up anything they want to on the internet. They can talk to people from all over the world at any time of the day or night. They can hop onto any number of social media sites to get support from peers or to bully the nerdy kid in homeroom. Teenage girls share provocative pictures with the boyfriend of the week and are shocked when he dumps her for the next girl and that “sexy” picture goes viral.
Do you even know what sites your child is going to? Sure we know about Face Book and Twitter. You may even be a friend or follower or whatever on these sites. You can bet your angel doesn’t say anything out of line with you looking over her shoulder but what is she saying on Insta-gram or in a forum about her favorite band? What personal information and pictures is she letting loose in these places? What is she learning from other kids who smoke weed or engage in self harm such as cutting?
Realistically, what can a parent do? What should a parent do? First off, you need to be realistic. You can toss the computer out the window or insist on sitting right next to her every time she logs on. If your child is under the age of 10 and mostly interested in Club Penguin games then close supervision should be effective. But if we are talking about preteens and teens I’ll bet she has ways around your supervision that you can’t even begin to imagine.
Teenagers are best parented with a careful balance of trust and boundaries. We educate our kids about sex, drugs and rock and roll. All of these can be found on the internet and more. Sit down with your kids and ask them what they know about the dangers on the internet. Come up with a list of “best practices” and “bad ideas” for online behavior. If you can agree upon a list there is a much higher chance that your child will follow the rules. If you come up with rules that are a lot more strict than other kids in her peer group you may be inviting her to get sneaky.
Now that the rules are in place all you can do is trust that she will be smart online and stay safe. It is still important to point out that the rules are there to protect her and if she is caught making dangerous choices there will be consequences. Don’t throw the computer out the window! Kids need to mess up and try again unitl they get it right.
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