COVID-19 caused all types of changes in the lives of people young and old. While some have been able to adapt, others have struggled with the new challenges. They may have faced feelings related to a bad mood and anxiety, too.
The disruption in usual routines and changes in expectations while at college are a lot for anyone to deal with.
Adults should remember (for themselves and their college-aged children) that there is no right or wrong way for them to respond. Everyone was and still is affected differently. While this is true, there are still plenty of ways to help support these young people and help them better understand and manage how they feel.
Some may be dealing with other worries, as well, such as anxiety about student loans or going back to in-person classes, or even dealing with large changes, such as going to a new campus or college.
For returning college students who are heading back to campus, the information below may help with this transition and ensure they adjust without too much issue.
Talk About How It Feels to Be Going Back
Sometimes adults assume they know how young people feel after dealing with a challenge. Unfortunately, this is often an assumption based on how the adult feels about the situation.
Every person’s and family’s experience with COVID-19 has been unique. With restrictions being lifted, each person and family will face new, unique challenges.
Consider talking about and reflecting on everything that has changed, and that may still be changing about your college student’s routine and day-to-day life. Find out if there is something they are enjoying, worried about, or looking forward to when classes begin. They could be concerned about being behind or unsure about how returning to college will look in the new “normal.”
If your college student is anxious or has mixed feelings about the situation, let them know they should talk about it. There’s a good chance others are feeling the same way. Parents and other adults need to listen to what they say and reassure them that their feelings are not unreasonable.
Don’t try to have all the answers. Instead, provide reassurance that you are there to help them with anything that comes their way.
Be sure returning college students are prepared. They should visit the college’s website to see what is different and what will be the same as it used to be. When students know what to expect, it can ease some of the feelings of anxiety they have about returning to school.
Create and Stick to a Routine
There have been several changes in recent times. Because of this, having a routine can be helpful for most young people. Consider what will work for them if they still live at home and help with it. For college students who don’t live at home, encourage them to create their own routine that includes plenty of sleep.
See What They Understand
Take time to talk to returning college students about what they know and understand about COVID-19. For example, do they fully understand what lifting restrictions mean? Helping them better understand the situation will ease their anxiety for everyone.
Focus on the Good
It can be scary and intimidating to go back to something that has been closed or different for a while. Many college students will have negative feelings about this, but in most cases, they will pass. Take some time to talk about the future and find out what they are looking forward to. It’s a good idea to stay focused on all the positive things about going back to college at this time.
Getting Back to Normal
It can be scary when it comes to getting back to normal, and there are still uncertainties. While this is true, you can help your returning college student prepare for what will happen with the tips above. Keep this in mind to make this transition as smooth as possible for them.