Beginning college brings significant change: newfound independence, managing schedules, and forming friendships. For some students, homesickness lingers despite expectations of adaptation.
He Couldn’t Take It Anymore
When this mom dropped her son off for his first year of university, little did she know that she would be requesting help from a parenting forum less than a week later. After four days as a college freshman, her son was already demanding to drop out and go home.
He Was Unhappy
According to the mom, the teenager was deeply unhappy during his first week of classes: “He doesn’t have a roommate (his roommate never showed), he doesn’t have friends from high school there, he refuses to go to the free health clinic there to seek help, and now he wants to quit and move back home.”
But She Already Paid the Expenses…
“I am FRUSTRATED, to put it mildly,” the mother vented in her post.
Not only was the mom concerned for her son, but she and her husband had already invested in their child’s education.
The financial cost of enrolling her son in university included spending money on moving expenses, taking unpaid leave for campus visits and new student orientation, as well as co-signing on his student loans.
She Was Determined To Help Him Out
An additional comment on the post reveals that the mom had tried multiple tactics to console, reason, and bargain with her son—but he remained determined to drop out.
She Did Everything In Her Power To Make Him Feel At Home
“I have asked him to seek help with the counselors on campus, I have sent care packages and surprised him with his favorite meal, I have had multiple Zoom meetings a day… I’ve told him that he can come home on weekends,” the mom explained, adding that she encouraged her son to socialize more by joining an on-campus activity.
“I even have a cousin who knows the football and the baseball equipment managers, and they want to work with him on working with their teams.”
But He Was Also Determined To Quit
Despite his mother’s best efforts, the college student was not having it: “The only answer I ever got was, ‘Uh… No.’”
Drop Out Rates in The US
According to the Education Data Initiative, current dropout rates indicate that 24.1% of first-time college freshmen abandon their studies over the course of their first year.
That number jumps to 39% at two-year institutions. College dropouts are 19.6% more likely to be unemployed and make 32.6% less income than those with bachelor’s degrees (or any type of higher education degree) in the U.S.
fellow parents react
Desperate, the mom turned to advice from fellow parents online. “I have tried everything I can think of, but he fights me at every conversation. Has anyone else faced these difficulties?” she inquired.
Most online users expressed sympathy for the mom, especially those whose own children struggled with homesickness while at college.
could it be anxiety?
“My kid just started college, and she has anxiety. She started raising the subject of postponing college, and I looked at her and said, ‘It’s just 2 sessions of 12 weeks. There are 52 weeks in a year. You can make it.’ Breaking it down into manageable pieces helped her to get a handle on it,” recalled one fellow parent in a similar situation. “Might work for your son.”
Freshman Year Can Take a Bit of Settling In
Another frequent suggestion was to seek mental health counseling for her son. As exciting as starting college might seem, freshman year is also a time of emotional upheaval that can result in anxiety and depression.
In recent years, the skyrocketing demand for mental health care among college students has prompted university campuses to reassess their approach to student wellbeing.
Admitting To His Problems
In the comment section, the mom confirmed her son was struggling with his mental health: “I have told him to complete just one day at a time. I’ve talked to him since making this post, and he admitted to having separation anxiety.”
Taking a Pause To Deal With Mental Health
Eventually, the mom was able to convince her son to seek help. After a conversation with his grandfather, the teenager agreed to sign up for counseling at the health center the following day.
Moreover, the son decided to drop a class that he had been randomly assigned, preferring a more manageable schedule instead.
With this compromise, the mom was hopeful her son would remain in college. “He has committed to staying and giving this more time,” she wrote.
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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
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