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Why Emotional Readiness for College Can Be Important

written by: Tia Ahmed•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 7/5/2011

Every summer, thousands of college bound students are getting ready for one of the biggest steps in their lives. Here you will find tips promoting emotional readiness for college.

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    Why Emotional Readiness is Important

    No one can ever truly be one hundred percent ready for life and therefore emotional readiness for college can never be fully complete. The concept itself is philosophically impossible - but steps can be taken to decrease the shock of an event. College life is usually not that shocking. There's been plenty of movies and books out there that exaggerate and sometimes accurately depict, for the general audience. Preparations that one takes for college usually consists of no exercise or plan; students are simply hugged goodbye and are set free.

    The experience of college life is supposed to be unplanned. However, these days, parents find it to be helpful if they share stories as honestly and judgmentally-free as possible about life at college. Emotional readiness for students can also depend on how strict, assertive, or how laid back and open minded the parents are.

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    Nostalgia or Homesickness

    Part of college emotional readiness training includes countering nostalgia or homesickness. Students should bring an item that shows a strong connection to their previous room, such as a poster or a picture collage. Parents could make a collage and present it as a graduation gift or part of one at least. Every student is different and some students will feel too overwhelmed with their studies to feel homesick while others may be rendered into a homesickness filled depression and one missed phone call from their parents may trigger a break down.

    Always remember, especially if the student in question is attending college far away, that there are college counselors available and the college community is much stronger than one can imagine. Strong peer relations occurs sometimes with very little help and this will greatly discourage nostalgic stages, but remember such feelings are normal and almost everyone goes through it.

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    Books and Outside Advice

    Books, such as The Naked Roommate, offer great advice for the new student and their parents. Most of the advice is through personal experience so future college students will benefit from such advice, however, one must take note that every college campus may be remarkably different from one another.

    Alumni or graduate students of the specific college that the student will attend may be a great guide for the student and their parents. They already know what to expect so through their advice, surprises will be cut down and enjoying the college life can begin quickly and painlessly. However, unless the parents were also part of a sorority or fraternity, secrets of house lifestyles and activities cannot be shared - even if they are grandfathered in.

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    Letting Go

    The biggest part of college emotional readiness is letting go. There are no best ways to let go, everyone is different when it comes to letting go. Students and parents are faced with the concept of separation and while many students are excited to have a lot of freedom without rules and restrictions, they are still faced with dorm room rules and regulations. Parents' fears of crazy teenager behaviors aren't always true.

    Students should understand that their mother or father won't be there to clean up after themselves, organize their meals, do their laundry, or provide gas money for their various car ride adventures after hours. One of the best things a student's parents can do early on is to counter their child's questions with "What are you going to do about it?" Overall, college life trains both scholars and every day working individuals for a society that encourages independence through interdependent life styles.