Ryerson’s department of public affairs has some advice for students and parents to help both adjust to university life.
Here are the tips for students:
1. Relax. Everyone else is going through the same thing you’re going through. So go and introduce yourself to someone new. Chances are they don’t know anyone else either.
2. Get to know your city. Get on public transit and get familiar with the different travel routes.
3. It’s OK if you don’t know how to do everything right away. That’s what your family and friends are there for. So call them up.
4. Prioritize. It may be easy to “forget” to do your readings and keep up with your work, but if you let these things slide, chances are you won’t have a reason to be living on your own for much longer.
5. Get connected. There are numerous events going on to suit everyone’s tastes. Whether it be program-specific, faculty-wide, religious, athletic, or just plain entertainment — there’s a little something for everyone. This is your chance to meet new people, and the more people you meet, and the more activities you do, the less likely you are to be homesick.
6. Have a late class? Stayed late at the library? Be safe. Check out your school’s website for security programs or head over to your student union office to find out what they can do for you.
7. Balance is the key. There is so much going on all the time that you can easily lose track of time — so allocate it efficiently. Make sure you have time for your studies, yourself, and time to go out and have fun.
8. Enjoy it all. There are going to be some really great times, some really bad times, and some in the middle, but all of these experiences are necessary for you to get accustomed to this new life. So stay positive.
And here are the tips for parents:
1. Your continued support through any changes (dress, interests, level of academic success, etc.) will be an important part of your student’s success.
2. Don’t be surprised if there is an initial drop in grades or concern about workload.
3. Send pictures and news items from your hometown paper.
4. Don’t make surprise, unannounced visits.
5. Expect the frequency of communication to lessen with time, it means they’ve made a successful transition. If there is a sudden drop-off in contact, however, calmly and tactfully inquire to see if things are OK.
6. Write even if they don’t write back.
7. Ask questions, but not too many. Express interest without seeming like you’re interfering. Remember, this is a transition into independence. Students may take excessive parental interest to mean that you don’t trust them as they are gaining a sense of autonomy.
8. Anticipate more bad news than good news, at least at first.
9. Students are under a lot of pressure and stress, with a fair measure of insecurity. So when those first phone calls come, do not respond by saying, “But these are the best years of your life.”
10. Assess how street-smart your son or daughter is. Discuss safety issues with them and encourage them to find out about campus safety and security, travelling around campus at night and emergency procedures.