Parent Posts

November — A student’s perspective

UniversityParent’s summer intern, a student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, reflects on what the month of November is like on campus. We hope her insights will help you understand and support your own college student.

By Catherine Scott

November is a transitional month in the lives of college students, especially freshmen.

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High School Parent | College Parent

By November, we’ve been in school for two months or more and the semester feels like it’s flying by. Midterms are over and Thanksgiving is approaching, which means that many students will be going home for break — for some of us, the first time seeing our families since summer.

By the beginning of the month, the newness and excitement of school has somewhat worn off, and homesickness increases in anticipation of Thanksgiving vacation (it might be even more pronounced for students who aren’t able to go home for the holiday). However, there’s no time to slack off. Academic motivation becomes crucial in November because final semester grades often depend on the last few tests. In addition, at most schools November is when students meet with advisors and register for the next semester’s classes. This may be quite a reality check for students who are unsure about their majors or whose grades don’t match up with their desired degree plan.

Fortunately in November there are lots of campus events to help balance the pressure of classes. Football season and Homecoming are exciting and fun to participate in, and going to events and games can be a great stress reliever. Also, even though the cooler weather can make it harder to spend as much time outside, it’s still important for students to get fresh air and keep exercising — it helps us focus, stay healthy, and manage stress.

Socially, for freshmen, November is a time when new friendships can be solidified and older friendships from high school may be put to the test. Groups form in residence halls, Greek life, and through other means, and sometimes the friends made in college start taking priority over friends not attending the same university. On the flip side, a lack of close friendships can contribute to some students having second thoughts about the college they’re attending. For some, it takes years to form close relationships and find community, and students can be discouraged if they haven’t found these yet.

All in all, November is a month in which the realities of grades, relationships, homesickness, and motivation have a huge impact on students’ lives. Academic and social factors force us to prioritize what people, activities, and classes are most important and deserving of our time and dedication. We need (and appreciate!) support and encouragement from our families, but also need to remember that, even though Thanksgiving break is approaching and the semester is coming to a close, school is our top priority and this next month must be devoted to putting our best effort into classes and keeping up with material. The end is near, and we can make it!

Don’t worry too much if your student is staying on campus for Thanksgiving break. Schools usually have fun activities planned for those who remain on campus. Usually the dining hall stays open, and there may be intercollegiate sports events and off-campus excursions. One college president in Massachusetts is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for students at an historic local inn. Add in bowling, board games, s’mores…there’s no time to be homesick!

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

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