Problems that Students Face
1. There is the stress of making a good adjustment because students believe their future depends upon their doing well. Did they make the right choice? How can they be sure? Should they change courses, direction, major? Putting choices into a longer-term perspective is useful. There are many people on campus that can assist them in making decisions: professors, peers, and College staff.
2. Some students will be homesick, missing their family, friends, and pets. They will miss old routines and structures.
3. Students may be ambivalent about dependence and independence. Some will openly ask for parent support and others won’t tell parents important details. Parents need to ask their adolescent how they are doing without prying too much – while also being accessible and open.
4. The school may not live up to the expectations set by the brochures and admissions counselors. Rarely does an admissions pamphlet tell all about the ins and outs, and the limits and shortcomings of a place.
5. The work is hard and some students may experience their first low grades. Most students have done well in high school. Some high school courses are not as demanding as college. A student has to learn a particular professor’s expectations and style of grading.
6. Students will be expected to maintain their own schedules and develop good study habits. There is no one around to force the student to study, to go to class, or to get a good night’s sleep. Students have to create a structure that works for them. Time management is a skill that can be learned or improved through work with the Macalester Academic Excellence (MAX) Center (phone number is 696-6121).
7. Students may become excited about whole new areas of study and may change their career goals and major plans. Parents who believe their student’s goals and dreams are set in stone may be surprised.
8. While many classes are small, some students may feel overwhelmed by large classes. They may be the youngest in the class or the least experienced in the subject matter. Many students are used to being the oldest and the brightest, and this is a big shift for them.
9. Some professors may not be as exciting and challenging as students thought they would be. While some professors are interesting lecturers, some are not. Some lead discussion classes and expect students to do a good deal of the talking. This may challenge quieter students.
10. Some students may have trouble with reading and writing assignments. The level of writing required may be higher and in greater quantity than what was expected in high school. Some students need extra tutoring in writing, grammar, spelling, etc. (Suggest the MAX Center: 696-6121.) Some readings may be more complex and difficult than expected. Assignments may require several readings and much more time than students allot. Students may develop anxiety about their performance.
11. Students may really like their advisor, or may not. If they have an advisor they do not get along with, they will hesitate to ask that advisor for help. Most advisors work well with students but occasionally personalities don’t mix well. Students can change advisors. Communication is the key here, even if personalities don’t match.
12. There is a maze of things to figure out – such as which courses to take, who to get to know, where to go for this or that. A lot of energy goes into trying to make sense of the new environment. Students may feel confused and bewildered from time to time.
13. Colleges have vocabulary and rituals that are new and unique. Concepts such as deans, provost, convocations may be new. What do students call their professors? Dr.? Ms.? Mr.? They need to ask. Some campus rituals may feel strange.
14. The food is not like home cooking. Students can gain weight during the first year eating too much fat, starch and junk food. Most students will complain about the food. The food here is pretty good, much of their dislike comes from eating at the same place for three meals a day, seven days a week … and it’s not mom or dad’s cooking.
15. Students dress differently than in high school. Some have body piercings and purple hair. As your adolescents explore their identity, they may look radically different during the first vacation or two home.
16. There are so many choices that the student can be overwhelmed and may not complete projects and tasks. There are so many clubs, organizations, activities, courses, lectures, sports practices, and concerns that it is sometimes hard to decide what to go to. Work can suffer if the student is spread too thin. Conversely, studies show that judicious active involvement can help students make better use of their time and increase the quality of their work. Some students don’t get enough sleep and get sick because they are committed to too many groups and/or projects. Balance is the key.
17. There is some promiscuous behavior and some drug use. Students have to mature, make responsible choices, and be aware that others may not engage in the most constructive behaviors. Sometimes roommates want to bring their partners into the room. Some students may even talk like “everyone else is doing it.” Keep in mind that this is their perception rather than the reality.
18. Students will be leaving old friends behind. They can keep up with them through email and vacations. In some cases, they will go their separate ways. This may surprise and sadden some students, especially those who have had the same friends since grade school.
19. Students will be confronted with different people from a variety of backgrounds. There are cultural differences; racial differences; and differences in sexual orientation, religion, values, and lifestyle. It can feel overwhelming to start over with new people. It can be hard to make new friends. It also gives students a chance to develop a new identity. There will be feelings of acceptance as well as rejection. Coping with new ideas, new people, and the possibility of rejection takes energy.
20. Roommates often have different lifestyles, values, and ways of doing things. A roommate can be particular, messy, reliable, unreliable, assertive, helpful, noisy, confused and difficult to live with. Some students find it challenging to live with a new person. For others, it will be easy and friendships will emerge. If a student calls home to complain about a roommate problem, encourage them first to work things out. There are Residence Assistants (RAs) who have been trained to assist in this process. Students may need to talk about switching roommates if the situation becomes intolerable – for example, if a roommate is abusive. The RA can help with that as well.
21. There may be troubled students who want to rely on your adolescent excessively for support, care, and nurturance. Some students may be very emotionally distraught and needy. This can be demanding and take a lot of time and energy. Your student needs to know when to say, “I can’t handle this” and when to refer his or her friend to the RA or for counseling (Counseling Services is 696-6275.)
HOME AND FAMILY
22. Some students call home often. Others don’t. Understanding student and parental expectations about the kind of contact that will be maintained is important. Have a discussion about what each family member needs as a minimum and wants as a maximum of contact. Also discuss ideal conditions – times of day, days of week that respect each person’s sleep habits, study needs, work schedules, etc.
23. Family structure changes. Parents may experience freedom when the kids leave home, or they may feel a great sense of loss. Or they may feel both! A father may find himself the only male among his wife and daughters. A mother may find herself the only female among her husband and sons. The phone may be quieter than before. New space may become available. When the student returns home, he or she may feel like everyone has gobbled up the student’s space and moved on.
24. Students may choose to not come home for vacations, or may not be able to do so because of cost or distance. They might be invited elsewhere. They might join campus service trips such as Habitat for Humanity. If parents are looking forward to home visits, they may have to adjust their expectations. Communication about expectations again is the key.
25. Parents need to express concern and interest, and empower their adolescent to seek appropriate kinds of help when necessary, to make good choices, and to learn from experience. Parents cannot step in and do it for their student. However, some of the situations can be stressful and difficult for your adolescent. There is a fine balance in taking a genuine interest and offering help – but not encouraging your adolescent to rely on you too much.
There are two overlooked national health issues that are affecting college campuses across the country. and they are contributing to the leading causes of death for college students in the US. Yet not enough people are talking about it: mental health issues and substance abuse and misuse among college students and young adults.
These are serious preventable problems affecting many young adults across the U.S.:
- Almost 1 in 4 of the nation’s college students meets the medical criteria for substance abuse.
- Mental health and substance abuse issues affect every single college campus.
- According to the 2013 American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment, more than half of college students have experienced "overwhelming anxiety"; about 32% of these students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some point in the past year.
The Campus Program is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional wellbeing and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide.
That is why we are breaking the silence. The Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) has teamed up with The Jed Foundation to launch The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program (The Campus Program), which helps colleges and universities create healthier and safer campus environments. The Campus Program is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional wellbeing and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide. The Campus Program expands upon The Jed Foundation’s JedCampus program, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students.
To participate in the Campus Program, schools take a confidential, online self-assessment about their current mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse programming, which is then compared to recommended practices. The Jed Foundation and CHMI then provide a confidential feedback report and on-the-ground technical assistance with practical recommendations for enhancement.
The Best of Times - The Worst of Times
While time spent at college is a fond memory and a happy experience for most, college life is not without its rough patches and problems. While each person's problems are unique to their current circumstances, I know that there are a few problems that almost all college students deal with at least once during their time at school. If you are on your way into college you might want to get a jump on how to deal with the 10 Common Problems Students Face During College. If you are reading for the sake of remembrance and posterity, I would ask that you try and throw a few good memories into the mix as you plod through the problems that once plagued you in your youth, or not so distant past.
Problem: College is challenging. For many it requires a much larger effort than high school did, and unlike most high schools, college packs about two years of classes into one. Many students take a full 15 credit semester, while other try to cram in 18 or even 21 credits. At times it seems impossible for students to stay on top of it all.
Solution: College students need to realize their limits. If they can't handle 18 credit semesters, it will be worth it in the long run to slow down a little and only take 15. While the purpose of college is to study and to further the education of an individual, that doesn't mean students should study all of the time. It is important to schedule time for fun outside of study, and to take study breaks to keep the mind fresh and clear. For more information on studying see the Effective Study Habits guide.
Problem: Tuition costs are rising at alarmingly high rates. Couple that with eating out, shopping trips, gas for the car, and the price of textbooks, and you have a college student's worst nightmare. College students drop out of school each year because they cannot afford it. Others are forced to juggle full schedules with full time jobs to make ends meet. It is becoming increasingly harder for students to graduate debt-free.
Solution: A new startup called BuzzFund is aiming to change the way that students pay for college. Buzzfund is a website where college students can post their personal profile, and donors can search for students to provide scholarships to. In addition, students can make less shopping trips, eat out less, carpool, and share or buy used books to try to save some money.
Problem: To combat the high price of college tuition, many students must get a job. Juggling a job, 15 to 18 credits, and sometimes a club or sports team is quite a chore. Many students try to cram all of these activities into one day, and time spent sleeping suffers. Without proper rest, the student can then become susceptible to different kinds of health problems.
Solution: Decide what is important. The student must prioritize and then schedule events, games, meetings, and studies accordingly. Also, a college student must be well aware of their options when getting a job. Many times the university will offer jobs to students that are flexible and fit into the student's schedule. For more information see the College Jobs Guide.
Problem: Whether they admit it or not, most students will at one point get homesick. This is especially common for students who go to a school that is more than 3 hours from their home. Homesickness also affects freshman as it is presumably their first year away from home, and most freshmen are not allowed to have a car during their first year at university.
Solution: If the student lives within 3 - 4 hours from home (considered a comfortable day's drive) they can plan to visit home perhaps once every month or two. Care packages, emails, and phone calls to and from friends and family members can also greatly assist in reducing feelings of homesickness.
Problem: Most every problem on here has seemed quite dismal. These problems raise the stress levels of students. Some find relief in partying, and others (even some who party) find themselves getting depressed from their problems.
Solution: If high stress levels and depression are an issue, it is best to seek professional attention. Many campuses have free counseling programs for the benefit of students. Many counselors are more than willing to listen and help students get back on track. (This doesn't mean the partying has to stop either, so long as students are partying responsibly and legally.)
6. Sickness / Health Conditions
Problem: With heightened levels of stress and lack of sleep, health problems can occur. Living in close quarters in dorms also poses potential health risks and increases a student's chances of contracting some sort of virus or other sickness.
Solution: College students should eat healthy and balanced meals. It is also important for students to get a good night's rest as well. Keeping hands, bathrooms, door knobs, and other shared spaces clean will also reduce the risk of students coming down with sickness. If sickness and health issues do develop, most campuses will have a nurse on standby to provide medical assistance and advice.
7. Friends / Roommates
Problem: Friends and roommates are usually good for a good time. However, they can get on each others nerves at times. Because these students are living together in close quarters and seeing each other each day, this is just not a good thing
Solution: Students must remember to take some time out for themselves. If possible, students should get away from campus for a little while and go to a coffee shop, or a mall and just take some time to gather their thoughts and be themselves. If conflicts do arise, it is best to get others (such as an RA or other friends) involved so that the spirit of community, unity, and peace at the college can continue to be upheld.
Problem: Partying in itself really is not a problem. Parties were designed so that attendees could have a good time. However, many of the parties that go on at colleges today have the potential to cause problems. At many parties alcohol, drugs, and sex rule the night. Alcohol can lead to drunkenness and potentially deadly situations. Having sex without taking the necessary precautions can spread disease.
Solution: While parties are a good time, students should plan to enjoy them in a responsible and legal way to ensure that they do not create problems for themselves for others. A simple internet search for drunk driving will turn up plenty of pictures and news articles which really do not need to be repeated.
Problem: Relationships are good, but at times they can become a problem. There are times in every relationships where a couple will have a disagreement or issue. Disagreements between couples can distract students from their school work and add to already high stress levels. Break-ups can drive some students even further into depression.
Solution: Relationship advice is hard to give. It will usually vary on a case by case basis. Couples should try and reconcile their differences. If break-ups do occur, it might be best to consult with a school counselor concerning feelings of depression.
10. Choosing a Major
Problem: Many students exert a lot of stress on choosing a major. Most of them think that their major will dictate their future career and how much money they will make at their future jobs.
Solution: College majors have some importance, but they do not chisel future careers or wages in stone. Students should choose something that they like to do. If a student is unsure about what major to choose, they should choose something broad and versatile, such as a degree in communications. Many students who have gotten their Bachelor's degree in one field have progressed to get a Master's degree in a different one. Worrying about what field to major is simply not worth it. Worrying about gaining knowledge and life skills during a college education is.
Is College Worth It All?
These are just ten of the many problems that college students face. In the end, is college worth facing these problems and struggles? Ask college students, and probably 8 out of 10 will say it sure is. While students get stressed to the max, the good times outweigh the problem times and the college experience becomes one which shapes the minds and futures of many young people worldwide.
- Anxiety, nervousness, worrying
- Schoolwork and grades
- Relationship with romantic partner
- Self-esteem, self-confidence
- Procrastination, getting motivated, managing time
- Relationship with family and parents
- Decision about major/career
All children and adolescents face challenges from time to time. In today’s culture and busy home/school communities, students may:
- Feel afraid to go to school.
- Have difficulty organizing their time efficiently.
- Lack effective study skills or fall behind in their school work.
- Lack self-discipline.
- Worry about family matters such as divorce or death.
- Feel depressed or anxious.
- Experiment with drugs or alcohol.
- Think about hurting themselves or others.
- Worry about their ability to manage relationships.
- Be confused or worried about their sexuality.
- Face difficult situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or quitting school.
- Question their aptitude or ability to succeed.
There are many problems that students face these days, but the biggest problem that students face is not getting enough sleep. It is very important to get enough sleep in order to perform at your best. Sleepiness will affect your overall life. If a student does not get enough sleep it is less likely that they do better in school. Students are also not as healthy if they do not get the minimum hours of sleep. In addition, sleepiness can make it harder to get along with friends and family. Teachers taking in consideration the need for sleep in students could help solve this problem.
Sleepiness affects students in so many ways. Many students do not do as good in school as they can because they are exhausted and drowsy. Studies show that when a student is well rested they will score better on a test than someone who has not rested at all. That is why teachers always tell you to come well rested for a test. Teachers always say to sleep a lot before a test, but there are usually assignments that the student has to complete before they can go to sleep. Usually students stay up and do badly on the test because they are too sleepy to perform at their best. Teachers also put too much on tests. If the students want to get a good grade they have to study and that means staying up late too. They will have studied a lot, but they will not be well rested. Then, they will have to study for other tests. During the last week of the semester teachers always have tests on the same day. I think that all teachers should have their finals on a different day of the week.
A lot of people have opposing viewpoints over sleep and teens. Some people think that students already get enough sleep, but studies show that only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights. That is the bare minimum of the number hours that teens need to sleep in order function well. A lot of teachers and adults say that students need to prioritize better. They say that you need to finish your work before you do anything. Well, students have a life too. Sometimes they need to help out around the house or sometimes they just need a break. I don’t think anyone wants to be sitting in one spot the whole day. Teachers need to start to understand students more.
There are many ways that this problem can be solved. One way that this problem can be solved is by teachers giving students less work to do at home. Also, have tests more frequently so that not all the material is on a huge test that would take hours to study for. In addition, teachers need to be in agreement for when students will have tests, so that tests don’t pile up.
Overall, I think that the biggest problem that students face today is the lack of sleep that they get. Lack of sleep affects the students overall life and can cause them to be cranky or get mad at friends and family. Also, teachers need to not assign as much homework so that students can get the sleep that they need. If all teachers were in agreement they could all help students be better rested and ready for the next day.