Christian Counselor Seattle
Summer vacation for college students can be a break from school, but also a time of reintegrating with their families. College is a time of growth and change and there may be many changes that you made during your time away at college. Some of those changes may not even be recognizable to you until you spend time at home.
New Perspectives in a Familiar Environment
Living at home for the summer may prove to be more challenging than you anticipate. Families are like a dance and your family has probably learned a new dance in the time you were away at college. This changing dynamic can make coming home challenging for you and for your family. You have changed during your time away at college and they have adapted to a new normal while you were away. If this dynamic is acknowledged, it can help in the transition for everyone. You are probably used to more freedom at college and your parents have known you as a dependent child. Clarifying expectations at the beginning of the summer can be helpful. For example, you probably don’t want a curfew but maybe you could check in with your parents and give them an approximate time you will be home. Recognizing that this is an adjustment for everyone and may be a little awkward at times can be helpful for everyone.
Each phase of college is different, and at the end of every year you will have a variety of new thoughts to process. Let’s look at some of the challenges commonly faced during the downtime after each completed semester.
After the First Year: Self-Sufficient Self-Discovery
Freshman year is filled with many changes, adjustments and growth. You might feel like a completely different person than the high school graduate who left in the fall. Freshman students have the opportunity to learn to live with a roommate, manage their own schedule, figure out how they will spend their time, start living on a budget they create and choose classes that interest them. This first year of college fosters independence and has many opportunities for figuring out who you are.
After the Second Year: Committing to Your Future
At the end of your sophomore year, you are halfway done with your college career. You may be surprised by how fast college is going by and feeling reflective over the last two years. At this point, you have chosen a major and are focusing on an area of study. This is exciting as it begins your path of narrowing your focus on what you want to do career wise, what you will spend time reading about and discussing in classes. In addition to your class work, you may be contemplating a study abroad program. This can be a great experience to become immersed in another culture and broaden your worldview.
After the Third Year: Your Last Summer as a Student
After junior year, this summer is the last summer before you enter the adult workforce full time. You may have mixed emotions about enjoying every last moment of summer or you may feel a time crunch to get an internship and start getting experience for your resume. A combination of both might be the best way to go; as that will give you balance between focusing on work, the future and enjoying the present.
After the Fourth Year: Preparing to Join the Workforce
The end of senior year begins the transition from school to the workforce. This may be the hardest transition as your life as a student is over for now, unless you attend graduate school. Take this summer to clarify what you want in a job. Know that you will probably not find your dream job with your first hire. The goal of a first job is to gain experience, to learn to be part of a team, to understand a work/life balance and to figure out what you want out of work. Even if your first job isn’t in the field you are passionate about, learning what you are not interested in is also helpful in figuring out what you want to do.
How A Christian Counselor Can Help Students
If you’re home on summer break and you want a place to process what has happened over this last year, or to prepare for the next year, counseling is a great place to work through these concerns. I would be happy to work with you as you clarify what you are interested in, figure out who you are and discover what’s next for you. This summer can be a boost to start out the next school year confidently and more informed. Or if you are a recent college graduate, we can work together to help with the transition from student to employee. Any of these can be challenging transitions and you don’t have to go through them alone.
Images cc: Office.microsoft.com Sign post saying ‘Your Career’, Freedigitalphotos.net Change ahead sign, college student laptop and teenagers studying together.
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