Leaving the nest


Annie Goodman / The Lion's Roar

Miss Southeastern Louisiana University Chelsey Blank peruses books in textbook rental as she prepares for her senior year of college.

When young adults leave home for college, families learn to adjust to the change of day-to-day functions.

With incoming students entering a world of new responsibilities, some guardians struggle to give them space.

Marcela Spicuzza, mental health counselor at the University Counseling Center, noted that many parents want to be involved as much as possible in their child’s college experience, but this can also create challenges.

“Parents oftentimes have difficulty letting their children go off on their own and letting go of control of various aspects of their child’s life,” said Spicuzza. “However, students are charged with their own schedules and academics, which parents do not always have access to. This can create some frustration or confusion for parents who want to be as supportive as they can be.”

According to Spicuzza, resources are available to help students and their families prepare for the transition into college life. She suggested that parents and students ask questions during orientation so they know what to expect before college begins.

Spicuzza also recommends consultations with college advisors and high school counselors to help foster conversations of expectations and concerns.

“I would advise parents to remember that it is natural for their children to seek independence and want to go out on their own, and it is OK to encourage this,” shared Spicuzza. “College can be a time of growth and reflection if one allows it to be so. Preparing their children to be resourceful and critical thinkers can also ease the transition into college.”

She discussed common issues freshmen face while adapting to life without their guardians.

“For many, learning how to balance school, work, social life and self-care is challenging when entering college,” explained Spicuzza. “In high school and younger, students are often told how to take care of themselves and what their responsibilities are by parents and teachers. In college, students have to figure most of this out on their own, which can be overwhelming.”

To help students conquer the challenges they face, Spicuzza encourages them to take initiative and reach out for assistance when needed.

“Taking care of themselves in the midst of a lot of transition is key, as well as looking to others for resources and support,” stated Spicuzza. “Joining organizations on campus, getting a job, finding mentors, et cetera, can help with this process.”