Surviving Holiday Break and Preparing for Next Semester
Well, the end of the year is almost here! The end of a long semester – for both you and your student, as you have navigated many experiences. Right about now, your student is most likely spending long hours completing group projects, submitting papers, and preparing for finals. As a parent/family member, you want to check in on your student and see what kind of support they need.
The holiday break is usually the first extended period during which families spend more time together since saying goodbye to their student at their residential hall. Although the holiday season has many joyous occasions, there are sometimes feelings of stress and anxiety for students and their families. Below are some tips to help make the holidays brighter:
Parents and family members might envision different ideas of what will take place over the break. Parents often envision their student spending significant amounts of time with the family, while students may have plans to work, relax, or keep their mind off school. Students can find time for catching up with old friends and devoting time to family. Parents and students should communicate before break about what the break will look like.
Your student will need a break from the stress of the semester. Remember to give your student a little space at first. Although most parents check in on students throughout the semester, this can be a time to spend more in-depth time communicating about how their college experience is going so far and reflecting on what can be better for next semester. This will also be a good time to talk to your student about how they did in their classes. If they did not do so well in a class, help them understand that failure is normal and part of the process of growing. Start by getting them to change the question from “How come I’m failing?” to “How do I learn to fail forward?” Everybody faces failures – you can even share some of your own. If there are wins to celebrate as well, congratulate your student and highlight their successes!
Communicate about important deadlines such as registration and financial aid as the holiday break starts. It is a good idea to keep close tabs on class registration, as students want the most suitable schedule for them next semester.
A common area of conflict is parents’ reluctance to see their student as an adult who has been living on their own. It may be difficult to transition back to house rules after enjoying the freedom of college life. Try to negotiate a new set of house rules, remembering that both sides will have to give a little to make sure to enjoy a smooth holiday break!
Support one another throughout the holiday break. The balance and patterns may or may not be quite the same; so, finding some time to discuss those can bring more relaxation in the home.
Most importantly: Enjoy spending time with family and friends over the holidays! Make time to rest and relax. As a parent/family member, you also made it through the semester while supporting your student! Indulge in some delicious treats and enjoy your time together!
For almost every college student, the winter holidays are a much needed break from classes, books, exams and those demanding professors who never seem to let up with the assignments. If you are like most students, you will probably spend the break hanging out with your family and friends, eating good food and sleeping in as much as possible. Then, before you know it the break is over and it is time to get back to school, back to studying and back to trying to ace those classes. It can be hard to transition from winter break back to college, but with these easy steps you can ensure you are back on track in no time.
About a week or a few days before you are set to start classes again, try to get to bed and wake up a little earlier. Eat your meals at the same time you do when you are in college and take time out each day to read a book or do some writing. This way, your body will adjust to your regular school schedule so that it is easier to get back into the swing of things when the time comes.
Before you start classes again, make a list of all the things you want to achieve for the remainder of the term. Maybe you want to make above average grades in all your classes, or perhaps you want to spend more time at the gym. Be realistic and try to set goals that are within your reach. Write the list on a piece of paper, and stick it to your mirror or bulletin board, so you have a daily reminder of your objectives.
Set a schedule
Besides your regular class times, try to schedule in set study times, gym sessions and extracurricular activities at set times every day. Plan your social life around your schedule, and try to stick to it, no matter how tempting the other options are. This way you will be less likely to slip behind on the important things.
Form a study group
Sometimes it is easier to get things done if you have other people to encourage and motivate you. Study groups are great because they allow you to socialize and study at the same time. In addition, group members can help each other out with difficult problems or material.