Every year, a new wave of high school seniors get ready to become college freshmen. Off to live away from home for the first time, off to discover more independence and start “adulting,” as adults say.
Parents: You may sound like you’re holding it all together but inside, you’re screaming: EEEK!!
As a parent, this lingering feeling has been hovering over our head like a heavy fog. It’s that feeling at the end of a test when the proctor says, “That’s it, test is over, pencils down.” Sure, the time may be up, but we have so much more to say! Our jobs aren’t quite done and there’s still much more to do.
So, as we prepare for our teens to venture off to college, let’s take some time to share some serious life advice so we can send them out into the world, a bit more prepared for the inevitable challenges they’ll encounter along the way.
Here Are 8 Mindful Pieces of Life Advice for the College Freshman:
Read on to discover eight things every college freshman needs to know.
1. Clear Communication and Mindful Conflict Resolution
We can be moody, ungrateful and not always do our part when we live with family, but that won’t fly in a small space with a roommate. Try role playing to talk about basic chores, schedule conflicts, and what your kiddo can do if they encounter conflict with their new dormmate.
Some of the best advice for college freshman revolves around mindful conflict resolution, clear and direct communication, and an ability to speak up to ask for what they need.
2. How to Be an Advocate for Their Own Health
Going off to college is one of the biggest changes anyone can experience in life, and has the potential to wreak havoc on your teen’s health. It’s important to educate on the changes that may occur with their mental and physical health.
Also, it’s a good time to share family health history and show them how to make a doctor’s appointment, fill out forms, and encourage them to speak up to advocate for themselves.
Most college campuses have many health resources for students, from general health and wellness, sexual health and education, and even healthcare plans so be sure your college freshman is aware of these important resources.
3. Use Simple Practices to Avoid Stress
We all want our teens to avoid stress in college. One way they can do that is to listen to the signals of your body.
Remind them to implement this life skill with simple practices like deep breathing, having a support system, talking about their feelings, or journaling.
Have your college freshman keep a body journal to track when they feel their best. Ask questions like:
- How much sleep feels optimal for me?
- What type of food makes me feel bad?
- How do I feel when I haven’t had enough water?
4. Schedule Time for Movement
Whether it’s scheduling a yoga break between classes or setting the alarm for some stretches in the morning, it’s important to have fluid movement throughout the day.
Moving every day gets your heart beating, blood flowing, and skin cells regenerating. Remind your college freshman to make time for movement, which will contribute to overall wellness.
This is the best college advice, because exercise helps with everything from making better decisions to reducing stress and improving focus.
5. Learn Mindfulness
College will be one of the most challenging and beautiful experiences for your teen, so encouraging a sense of mindfulness along the way is so important.
For you AND your college freshman: Ready to start meditating? Here’s How to Begin a Meditation Practice
The practice of pausing and reflecting on their day, week, or month, and incorporating meditation or short breaks to be still and focus on the present moment will help them cultivate gratitude along their wonderful, wild journey away from home.
6. Basic Household Skills
If your teen didn’t do chores at home, now is the time to teach them the bare bones basics, like:
- How to cook simple dishes like eggs, pasta, etc.
- How to clean a bathroom and kitchen to a sanitary level
- How to do laundry
Basic household skills are not to be taken lightly. The first time I did dishes in the dishwasher I put liquid dish soap in and flooded my new apartment kitchen with bubbles. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
7. Basic Vehicle Maintenance
It might not be the first thing you think of when you’re contemplating what college advice to dispense to your teen. But vehicle maintenance is an important skill for college freshman students, especially if they’re bringing a car to their first year at school.
A college freshman (and any teen) should know how to:
- Check the air pressure in the tires
- Check the oil
- Check the tire tread
- Change a tire in an emergency
- Use jumper cables
This skillset is something they will likely face at some point whether or not they are a driver. Take an afternoon to teach them these skills and they’ll have them for a lifetime.
You can also consider gifting them a AAA membership, which is a valuable and affordable resource when it comes to car troubles. They may not appreciate it in the moment, but when they run out of gas or get a flat, they’ll be thanking you.
8. Perhaps the Best Advice for a College Freshman: Take No Shit
If your son or daughter has a conflict that feels too heavy to resolve, they need to know how to get help.
Whether it’s a grade dispute, sexual harassment, hazing, or even stalking – they must advocate for themselves, trust their gut, and speak up when they don’t feel safe. It’s ALWAYS okay to ask for help.
And that is perhaps the most important lesson and college advice we can offer.
Your College Freshman Will Start Feeling Prepared and Confident With This Life Advice
While the test may not feel over for us, the bell is ringing and it’s time to get up and show our teen some much-needed support as they venture off to college.
When they’ve made the transition, it’s important for you to too. The next step will be learning how to stay in touch with your college-bound teens.
But for now, focus on embracing these last several months and imparting as much wisdom as possible. The best advice for a college freshman is simple, direct, and backed by your ongoing support. You’ve got this, parents!