College can be described in many ways: exciting, challenging, busy and stressful. College students have a hectic schedule, so it's hard to know what’s going on in your kid’s life. Check out our brief college calendar so you can get serious parent points by asking the right questions and sending the perfect care package (hint, hint).
When They'll Be Home.
On average, students go home a lot more than they used to, but everyone's different. The dorms are known to empty out on the weekends at smaller colleges. But, some students may have sports, jobs or other school events they attend on the weekends.
When your college student will be home depends on how far away their school is and what their schedule looks like. If they go to college in the same town you live in, expect to see them more often than if they were hours away. If they're driving distance, chances are they'll at least be back for the occasional home cooked meal or laundry day. If they're at a university across the country, you'll hopefully get to see them on holidays and school breaks.
The most common vacations for students are Thanksgiving break in the fall, winter break between semesters (which can be up to a month at some schools), spring break (which they choose to spend tropically and not at home), and of course summer. Some colleges also have long Easter vacations and other short breaks. Your best bet is to check out their college's calendar online for the specifics.
When They'll Get Sick.
College students are notorious for being sick a lot, for a number of reasons. College can be stressful which means students may not take the time to sleep enough or eat well. Plus, they're living in close quarters in the dorms with lots of other people, and all of their germs. College is also a great Petri dish for viruses like the stomach flu and mono, among others. Educate your student of the symptoms and encourage your child to address them immediately.
Freshmen are usually more susceptible to getting sick because college is a new environment for them. They're dealing with new people, places and schedules, and it'll take some getting used to. Remember when you first sent them to daycare and then kindergarten? It's like that all over.
The most common cold and flu seasons in college are the beginning of fall semester when everyone is adjusting, spring when allergies are acting up and anytime the cold hits. Students are also likely to get sick around midterms and finals, often due to lack of sleep.
When They'll Be Swamped.
College students seem to be pretty busy all the time, but there are a few times a year things will get more chaotic than usual on campus. The college calendar fills with stress near the beginning, middle and end of semesters.
Many students, especially freshmen, will feel overwhelmed right away with new classes, new people and what feels like insane amounts of homework. It's a good idea to check in with your student often during the first few weeks of school to make sure they're adjusting alright. Also, be understanding if it seems like they’re dodging your calls. They’re probably just that busy.
The other extraordinarily stressful times college kids face are finals and midterms. Chances are your student will have multiple papers, projects and tests due all in the same week. Some students feel the stress the week before finals as well, with professors assigning a lot of homework pre-test, or having projects due early. One of the more unexpected times your student could get an extra dose of stress is the week following finals because they may be anxiously waiting for their grades.
What Can You Do?
There are lots of ways to help your college student in times of trouble or sickness. Good college parenting might include sending letters, giving your student a phone call, visiting campus or sending a care package.
College is a crazy time for most students. Keep your student's college calendar in mind and be ready to help when needed.