Phase 1: Anticipation
Right after high school graduation, incoming freshman will deal with a lot of emotions. The impending loss of a familiar environment clashes with their excitement of the next four years. Mood swings are common in your student as well as yourself.
Phase 2: Anxiety
About mid-July, most new students are coming to the realization that a major change is ahead. Students may undergo an academic form of "buyer's remorse," questioning their decisions about attending Drury. They might even explore nearby institutions.
Phase 3: Panic
Panic hits different students at different times. Some students will be extremely stressed just before they leave; others will be remarkably calm. A new environment has the potential of being extremely stressful for your student.
Phase 4: Summer Camp Feeling
" Hey, Drury is great!" Orientation, no exams in the first couple of weeks, and some new friends typically lead to a honeymoon period for many students. College life is the best thing in the world--at least for now…
Phase 5: Camp is Over; Time to Face the Music
When college becomes a grind, students begin to question themselves, their decisions, and whether or not they fit in. These feelings of insecurity often lead to homesickness. For some students, a sense of academic inadequacy may emerge just after they receive midterm grades.
Phase 6: The Grass is Always Greener…
Many students deal with their feelings of insecurity by considering a transfer. They assume that transferring will resolve their insecurities. A great deal of "shuffling" occurs at many universities after the first semester--dissatisfied students leave and new transfers arrive. In general, however, these students face the same issues and problems at their new school they were trying to leave behind.
Phase 7: You Can't Go Revisit The Past
When they go home, students will realize the nothing is the same. The first time students come home to visit (or during their first extended visit home), they will have to deal with the changes in themselves and the changes around them.
Phase 8: Finals
Final exams can shake even the strongest sense of belonging. Many first-year students feel a rush of panic and assume that they are behind in their work. They assume that final exams will be much more difficult than they actually are.
Phase 9: Hey, I Can Do This!
Sometime during the second semester (we hope) first-year students begin to see Drury as a survivable, even thoroughly enjoyable, experience. They realize that college is about new friends and fun, but it is also about hard work, painful choices, and goal setting.