Beneath the bravado of the cocky, soon-to-be college freshman is usually an anxious child in transition to near-adulthood. They’re nervous and you know it, even though they won’t tell you.
They are about to depart for a new and exciting adventure in which virtually every facet of life will be different. Clearly it’s both exhilarating and intimidating. In Harlan Cohen’s book, “The Naked Roommate’s First Year Survival Workbook,” (Sourcebooks, $16.99) he provides the following quick quiz students should take before arriving on campus.
Answer the following questions on a 1-10 scale where 1 = Not true, 5 = somewhat true and 10 = doesn’t get any truer.
• I know what life will be like in college.
• My expectations about college come from reliable sources, such as current students, recent college grads, a sibling in college or an advisor.
• I make friends very quickly, so I will probably make friends in college fast.
• I am certain that my boyfriend or girlfriend from high school will stay my boyfriend or girlfriend while I’m in college.
• I am confident that I will get good grades in college (as good as I got in high school).
• I have no idea how I’ll find my place in college.
• I know exactly where I’ll find my place in college.
• I don’t know what it means to “find my place” in college.
• Time management freaks me out (not sure when or how I’ll study).
• I’m afraid of getting lost on campus.
• I am completely comfortable being exactly who I am.
• I’m excited to become someone different in college.
• My parents are clueless about life in college.
• I’m worried about my parents being too involved in the choices I make.
• I plan to talk/text/email my parents several times a week.
• I plan to talk/text/email my parents several times a day.
• I’m concerned about getting homesick.
• I would rather text someone about a problem instead of talking about it.
There are no right or wrong answers here, but I hope this can serve as an opening dialogue for parents and their children.
Remember, students can plan and parents can talk, but so much of college life is about living in the moment, managing expectations and anticipating the unexpected.
Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com
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