By Catherine Scott
A UniversityParent intern and college sophomore, Catherine shares reflections on what the month is like on campus. We hope her essay will help you understand and support your own college student.
The semester is flying by — I can’t believe it’s already March! The months after winter vacation are the most unrelenting of the school year, and spring break feels like the first breath of fresh air in a long time.
By this point in the semester, most students are in a steady rhythm academically, understanding what’s expected from each class. At my school, we just finished our second round of tests, which were less stressful than the first tests because I now have a better idea of each teacher’s requirements.
As a sophomore, I spend a lot of time looking back and comparing what I’m doing this year to what I did freshman year. Last March, I finally learned that studying for college exams requires more preparation than high school exams, and that starting to study at least two days before a test was much more effective than waiting till the night before. I also learned that my mom was right all along — keeping my room clean and my bed made every day makes all the difference with how prepared I feel to face the day.
March was also the month when I began spending time regularly with a steady group of friends. During first semester of freshman year, students are encouraged to move around and try out new things and keep meeting people. While this doesn’t completely change, during second semester students begin to lay down lasting roots in clubs, sports teams, faith groups, Greek organizations and dorms. Spending time with my friends gave me energy to cope with academic pressure as well as support for dealing with the doubts I had about my major.
Close friends inevitably become roommates. This month, many students are making final decisions about their living situations for next year. In my university town, apartments start pre-leasing in November, but plenty are still leasing throughout the spring, and at many smaller colleges students continue to live on-campus and are going through Room Draw. Deciding where to live is intense, and there’s added angst if you’re moving from on-campus to off-campus housing with all the extra responsibilities of cooking meals, paying bills and cleaning toilets!
Choosing roommates for both on and off-campus housing is also an important decision. I’m fortunate to share an apartment with three incredible roommates, but at the beginning of the school year, only two out of the four of us had roomed together the previous year so there was no guarantee it would go smoothly. It did, but not all roommates have the same result. Encourage your student to talk to you about all the possibilities she’s considering.
March has its stressful weeks with plenty of pressure, but the respite of spring break, the support of friends, and the anticipation of warmer weather keep us forging ahead!
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