Planning for The Fall Semester – How to Set Yourself Up for Success

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College Campus on a Sunny Fall Day

You probably think we’re crazy for thinking of the Fall semester this early in the year but being prepared for the next term is never a bad thing. In fact, we think getting yourself set up now is the best way to success. Want to know how we’re getting it done? Here are our top 7 to-do items for planning for the fall semester.

See an Advisor Before Registering

The biggest mistake most college students make is not checking in with an advisor before selecting courses. Why is this so costly? Well, your advisor is the one who can make sure you’re on track to graduate, review your course history, and advise you on which classes meet your goals. Without them, you could make some costly and timely mistakes that will derail your Fall semester.

Register On Schedule

In college, you won’t be reminded to do something a hundred times. It’s up to you stay on schedule and remember important deadlines. The one you def don’t want to forget is when registration is open to you. For larger schools, missing your priority registration period could mean losing out on a seat in a class. For smaller schools, you might get bumped into an undesirable course or with a professor you dislike.

Check Out the Syllabus

Many universities now post their classes syllabi online for prospective students and those looking to register. Having a syllabus in hand can help you better anticipate what’s in store. For example, if a class you want to enroll in has a massive group project due at the end of the term, you may not want to sign up for a club that is going to require a lot of commitment.

College Textbooks

Buy the Books in Advance

Buying early saves you cash on textbooks, especially when you purchase in the late spring or early summer. But you’ll also get to read through the material at your own pace, and that can help you process the information better than late night cram sessions the day before class.

Test Try the Course

If you’re terrified of your Calc class or aren’t sure if you’ll dig Art History, why not try it out now? Colleges often have free access to online courses through services like Udemy or Coursera. With no commitment necessary, you can sign in to browse the modules or watch a lecture. You’ll feel more confident in the courses you’re signing up for, and you may just get ahead on the learning objectives.

Review Your Mistakes

Every school year requires a day of reflection where you think back on everything that went right and went wrong. Make a column for each and jot down everything you can imagine. Grab your grades and review. Do you see patterns? Were you stressed out in the winter near the holidays? Did you skip a ton of classes after your breakup? By laying it out there, you can pinpoint where your strengths and weaknesses are and then improve on it next Fall.

Organized School Supplies

Get Organized Early

When we’re school shopping, we often forget the little (but super important) details like extra flash cards or post-it notes. Make a pretend shopping list now of the things you use the most. Then, start stockpiling. You can get great deals on 2018-2019 planners, for example. And school supplies are always cheapest the further out from the Fall you buy them!

With plenty of time left to get organized, review over your mistakes, and preview your courses, you can guarantee a win come your Fall semester!

How To Stay On Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Journal writing can help you achieve your goals

We’re now about three weeks into the new year. Hard to believe right? It feels like yesterday since we made our New Year’s resolutions. And while we’ve struggled here and there, we’ve managed to keep up with our goals. Want to know how? Here are our top seven tips on how to keep and conquer a New Year’s resolution!

      1) Revisit Frequently

Yeah, it’s great you want to lose weight or be better with money, but how are you working towards it today? We’ve found that by making check-in points weekly and monthly, we’ve been able to stay on track and make small progress towards the big goal. This also helps break down the process so you’ve always got a map of where you need to go.

      2) Write It Down

Vision boards are kind of our thing. We need to visualize what we want in order to make it happen. We’re also big believers in writing it down everywhere. Put your goal in your planner, on your phone, hanging above your bed, on your whiteboard, etc. If you see that spot, write your resolution there.

      3) Make a Friend

Never underestimate the power of an accountability partner. They’re the ones that make us take a second look at that donut or get up at 6 AM for a morning jog around campus. Knowing that they’re in it with us makes us feel like there’s someone looking out for our goals.

Celebrating your successes is key to fulfillment

      4) Celebrate Along the Way

It could be that you got a C- on that challenging exam or that you called your mom for the third week in a row. Whatever your milestones are, make sure you are celebrating it. However, avoid celebrating with something you’re avoiding. For example, if your resolution is to spend less money, don’t celebrate a spend-free weekend with a trip to the mall. That only derails the process.

      5) Cut Out Temptations and Negativity

Some resolutions are easier than others, and that’s probably because you’re not tempted to cheat or you don’t have detractors telling you that you can’t. If this is your life and your goals, feel free to kick the negatives to the curve. Cut up your credit cards, clear your calendar, avoid that friend that’s always a downer, or avoid walking past the smoker’s area on your way to class.

      6) Understand Your Triggers

If your goal is to stop doing something, then it’s powerful to know why you even started. Try journaling your feelings around your habits. Do you shop because you’re bored? Do you emotionally eat? Do you avoid calling your BFF when you’re stressed? Knowing what triggers you can keep you from falling backward.

     7) Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Resolutions aren’t supposed to be a life or death situation — so don’t freak if you miss a day or cheat here and there. Remember that your negative habit most likely didn’t begin overnight, and it won’t fix itself overnight either. Progress, the real and lasting kind, takes time and sometimes getting through setbacks to prove that you can do it.

New Year’s resolutions are more than small changes for the present. They are about establishing new habits and changing your lifestyle that can benefit you positively for years to come. Think of it as a journey. Follow some of our favorite tips for keeping us on track and let us know your favorites!

Winter Themed Desserts to Make in Your Dorm Room

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Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up in your comfy dorm room getting cozy with some delicious sweets. From chocolate and berries to whipped cream and powdered sugar, there are plenty of winter desserts to indulge in. But the best part is that most of these don’t require an oven and are so easy that you could make it in your dorm room! Here are our top picks for winter-themed desserts.

Cookie-in-a-Mug

Party for one? No problem. You can make a delicious single cookie that goes great with a scoop of ice cream or a cop of hot chocolate. You’ll love it because you only need a mug and a microwave to make it happen.

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1½ tbsp. sugar
    • ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tbsp. flour
  • Directions:
    • Spray mug with cooking spray.
    • Melt butter in mug for 30 seconds to soften
    • Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, stirring until well-mixed.
    • Microwave for intervals of about 20 seconds until cookie has risen and is done.
    • Top with sprinkles, chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, etc.

Chocolate chip cookies

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

A favorite from childhood, no-bake cookies are perfect for those who are die-hard chocolate fans. These cookies give you a burst of energy and make a good breakfast treat. This recipe makes a dozen.

  • Ingredients:
    • ⅔ cup sugar
    • 1½ tbsp. cocoa powder, unsweetened
    • 2 tbsp. milk
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • ¼ tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
    • 1 cup quick oats
  • Directions:
    • In a larger-sized microwave bowl, add sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter. Microwave for about one minute or until bubbling. Microwave for another 30 seconds.
    • Stir in the rest of the ingredients one at a time.
    • Drop spoonfuls on a plate and refrigerate for about 3 hours. Best served cold.

Puppy Chow

Another childhood favorite, puppy chow is a favorite guilty pleasure. It’s such a mess to clean up, but it’s worth it for its chocolate-peanut butter goodness. Your friends will want a bag each.

  • Ingredients:
    • 3 cups rice squares cereal
    • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
    • ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Directions:
    • In a microwave-friendly bowl, melt chocolate at intervals of ten seconds (stirring each time you take out).
    • Add peanut butter and microwave for two-30 second intervals, stirring until well-mixed.
    • Add cereal and mix. Pour into a plastic bag and then add powdered sugar. Shake bag until evenly distributed.

Banana Pudding Jar

We always found banana pudding to be uber-sophisticated, especially when done up all fancy in a tall, glass dish. But did you know you could make expensive-tasting banana pudding in a jar with only a few ingredients and a mason jar (or regular bowl)? Seriously!

  • Ingredients:
    • Vanilla wafer cookies
    • 1-2 bananas, sliced
    • 1 packet of banana or vanilla pudding, prepared (or use 2-3 cups of pre-made banana pudding)
  • Directions:
    • Line bottom of your bowl or jar with vanilla wafer cookies as a base.
    • Make another layer of bananas
    • Add prepared pudding on top and alternate with layers of sliced bananas and cookies until at the top.

fruit parfait dessert

Berry Good Fruit Parfait

Berries are all we want come wintertime. Thank goodness there are plenty of berry-themed recipes for us to enjoy. This recipe uses pre-made cake (think leftovers) and blends our favorite fruit and loads of whipped cream.

  • Ingredients:
    • Pre-made cake (including cheesecake) in small chunks
    • Variety of berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
    • Whipped cream
  • Directions:
    • Add a layer of cake chunks to bottom of jar or bowl.
    • Add a second layer of fruit and then top with whipped cream. Repeat until full.

These are just a few of our favorite desserts to make when we are stuck inside on a cold winter day. Make one of these (or all, we won’t tell!), binge your favorite Netflix series and let us know which one was your favorite!

Preparing for The Spring Semester

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University during the spring semester

We hate to do this, but we need to talk about how the spring semester is only a week or two away. Ugh. Reality bites, but it’s time to face it. We want this semester to be the best one yet, and that means being as prepared as we can be. Here’s the checklist we’ve made to ensure we’re going to rock our spring classes.

Grab Extra Supplies

We’ve got leftover pens and notebooks, but that’s not enough. We need to pick up the little things like notecards and highlighters so we’re not surprised when we run out mid-semester. No last minute runs to the office supplies store means less pressure and more time at peak studying mode.

Bookstore

Rent Your Books In Advance

We’re all about a good bargain, especially when it comes to expensive textbooks. That’s why it is critical that you reserve your textbooks way in advance from third-party sites like Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. Even your bookstore may run out of rentals if you wait until the last minute to get it done.

Change Out the Wardrobe

Clothes are just as important as supplies or books, but we continuously forget this step! Winter break is the time to replace your fall flannel and summer shorts with snow boots and thick cardigans. Come spring break, change it out again for your warm weather clothing. It will save you space and laundry back at your residence hall.

Review the Last Semester

Your grades for the fall semester should be in by now which means it’s time for a reckoning. Where did you struggle? Where weren’t you challenged? It’s time to do a realistic and honest intervention for yourself, especially if your grades weren’t pristine.

Tranquility of yoga alone on the mountains

Cut Out What Doesn’t Bring You Joy

We’re all about making this year the year of minimalism. That means taking the things that didn’t make us happy, smarter, or more productive last semester and cutting them out. It’s tough to say goodbye to a favorite club or activity, but if it’s not getting us to where we need to be, there’s no reason not to say goodbye before the spring semester begins.

Set SMART Goals

Was #4 too real for you? Then you probably need to rethink your semester goals. If you want to be more successful, try setting SMART Goals. SMART stands for “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.” Every goal should be within your reach, as specific as possible, able to be reviewed at a particular time. For example, set a SMART Goal of getting a B in Chemistry 101 by midterms.

Read Through Your New Syllabi

Our biggest pet peeve is when a professor assigns a homework assignment while we’re still on break! But it happens, so we need to be prepared by making sure we’re not behind on the first day. Take ten minutes out of your days off to read through the syllabus, add due dates of papers and projects to your planner, and note any major exams that you’ll need to put some time aside for.

These are just a few of the things that we thought of that can help you get the spring semester off to a great start. Let us know if you have any other tips that you personally find helpful during those first few weeks!

The Best Places on Campus to Study for Finals

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Notecards being prepared for finals week

Ugh. We can’t believe we are saying this, but the countdown to finals is ON. Overwhelmed? So are we. That’s why we are hunkering down and studying early this year. To make sure we’re prepared, we’ve selected the best places on campus to study for finals. Use this as your guide to finding the ultimate productivity place when finishing your paper or cramming for your exams.

The Sweet Spot at the Library

The trick to finding the best place at the library is knowing what to look for. The first is noise. Stay away from computer labs, classrooms, or group rooms. You’ll never get anything done there and will probably be forced to listen to someone else’s music.

The second thing you should look for is lighting. You’ll want to find a spot that isn’t directly under an industrial type light. Instead, go to the windows where there is plenty of sunshine. Natural light helps keep your energy up. You’ll also want to avoid drafty places or spots by vents where the temperatures can fluctuate and make you uncomfortable. And if you’re allergic to dust, avoid the seats in the stacks.

Empty Classrooms or Offices

First and foremost, check your campus rules on this one. You could be putting yourself at risk if your school doesn’t have an open doors policy. But if they’re cool with you utilizing an unlocked classroom or student office space, it could be your next hidden study hangout.

You’ll want one that is off the beaten path, and you will want to go alone on this one just in case something goes down (like someone breaks some technology on accident). If you can, studying in your actual classroom may help you beat test anxiety!

Classroom reserved during finals week for studying

Coffee Shops and Cafes

Everyone goes to Starbucks, but you can get the same kind of ambiance if you try your student-run coffee shop instead. The drinks are cheaper, and it’s more convenient to your dorm and it makes a great place for group reviews.

If you want a more low-key session, go a few hours before close or right when they open (usually around 5:00 AM). You’ll avoid morning and afternoon rushes and will most likely be able to snag the one table with the power bank.

Reserve-a-Room

Some campuses have rooms students or student groups can rent. It’s the perfect solution if you need a ton of space for all of your notes or room to finish a poster project. And you’ll guarantee yourself uninterrupted quiet time for the duration of your stay.

Some rooms you can rent include dorm room offices or group meeting rooms, spaces at your student union, or performing art practice rooms. You may need an advisor or professor to help you reserve, but it shouldn’t cost you anything to do.

The Gym

A little unconventional, but student-athletes will tell you that sometimes the best way to study is to move around while you do it. And there are some studies out there that show that adding movements to memorization can help you better internalize facts and concepts.

Bring your textbook on the elliptical or treadmill. Download a podcast reviewing the subject area so you can spin and learn. Lift weights to an audio version of your chapters. When finished, you’ll feel great and will be ready to take on whatever finals has to bring!

Let us know your favorite place to study for finals on campus! We hope these tips help you ace those upcoming finals!

Black Friday Deals for Students to Look Out For

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Shopping mall during a busy hour

Fall break is here, and we are thrilled for some rest, relaxation, turkey time, and shopping! Black Friday isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re personally stoked for scoring some major deals. With the holidays on our mind and a budget to keep, we’ve got our eye on eight specific items that are must-buys when you’re in college. Here’s our shopping list to help you get started.

  1. Blankets and Bedding

Snuggly and warm go on massive discounts come Black Friday sales. Score new fluffy pillows for under $10. Maximize your warmth with heated throws for pennies on what you’d normally spend. Freshen up your dorm look with inexpensive quilts and flannel sheets sets. When it’s on sale, you can give your room a makeover.

     2. Summer Clothing

It may not be advertised, but Black Friday is almost always the time when stores push all their unpurchased summer clothes to super clearance. Score on basics like t-shirts and tanks. Find a cute dress or two to add to your wardrobe. And don’t forget about replacing your shower flip flops!

Apple and Mac products on desk

     3. Laptops and Tablets

Here’s a pro tip: this is pretty much the only time you’ll get discounted Mac and Apple products, tech fans, but it won’t be much. Instead, consider standing in line for a very inexpensive, yet durable Chromebook or tablet as a stand-in. It’s perfect for college student needs, and you can often grab one for under $200!

     4. Entertainment Tech

When we think of Black Friday, we think of TVs. But a new flat screen isn’t the only thing we’re picking up this year. Headphones, especially big brand names, are always price cut. And don’t forget speakers, game consoles, and Blu Ray players.

     5. Fitness Gear and Clothes

Ahead of New Year’s resolutions, stores start to push activity and fitness items out the door come Thanksgiving. Popular items include activity watches, workout armbands for your phones, hand weights, yoga mats, and running shoes. At least you’ll work off your turkey calories.

     6. Movies and Games

We sometimes find Black Friday to be a crapshoot when it comes to smaller entertainment items, but not this year! So many stores are putting out deep discounts on movies and video games that we actually want to own. There’s even talk of Cyber Monday deals with downloadable movies from sites like Amazon!

French press and coffee mug

     7. Kitchen Appliances and Utensils

This is the time to replace your mom’s old coffee maker or that rice cooker that’s on its last limbs. With appliances going for as little as $10, you can buy a lower brand model and then replace each Black Friday for the same price or less as an expensive version.

     8. Jewelry and Accessories

Besides cheesy gold and silver mom-type jewelry, accessories don’t get enough hype this shopping season. But if you know where to look, you can find statement pieces that are totally your style. A great trick is to go to a clothing store you love and browse their selection. More than likely, they’ll put a sale ticket on small items like jewelry and you know the style will be close to what is already in your closet.

There you have it – our list of the top deals you should start scouting out for Black Friday! Let us know where you find the best deals and who you were able to cross off of your holiday shopping list!

How to Plan the Ultimate Friendsgiving Event

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All the steps needed to plan a great friendsgiving event

Pre-Party

  • Planning your space is crucial to hosting a successful event. Make sure that you have enough seats for everyone around a large table.
  • Creating an event page allows everyone to RSVP quickly and easily.
  • A list with who is responsible for what dish is key to getting a wide variety of foods.
  • Extra utensils are paramount – don’t let anyone eat without them!
  • Everyone loves leftovers, and it reduces cleanup on your part. Have everyone bring extra containers

Party Time

  • The day of the event is sure to be hectic, creating a checklist to ensure you don’t miss a crucial item can help to reduce stress
  • A dress code can make things more interesting, but a dress code with your friends is certainly not a requirement
  • Carving a turkey can be a tricky (and dangerous) process, read or watch a few tutorials ahead of time to help the process go smoothly when it hits the table
  • Activities with friends are always more fun. Football, board games, scavenger hunts, or a pie eating contest can make the occasion especially memorable.
  • Holiday playlists make everything feel more festive. Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube have thousands of playlists to choose from.
  • Party favors can be a gag gift, or something more traditional. They always make the occasion a bit more special.

Post-Party

  • Photos of your Friendsgiving should be shared so you can have an even better event next year!
  • Take those leftovers and you’re all set on food for a few days!
  • Prepare for some Black Friday shopping and scout the deals you want to score.
  • Clean up, or save it until a bit later!

What to Do If You Aren’t In Love With Your Major

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Stack of textbooks and apple

When you started freshman year, you were sure you wanted to study business. But now you’re in your program and you’re starting to feel restless. This path doesn’t seem right anymore, and your classes are either too challenging or too boring. Does this sound familiar? Realizing that you’re no longer in love with your choice of major can be shocking. But there are a lot of things you can do to help make up your mind on if you should switch or not. Here’s how to get started.

Give It Time

Stress gets the best of any of us. Coursework, activities, exams, family, friends — it can be a lot to deal with when you’re in college. And that feeling of dread or restlessness can be projected on other things in your life. In some cases, that may be your major.

If it’s been a tough semester or you’ve got a lot going on, you may not want to rush to make any changes to your major. Wait until your feelings pass, you take that exam, or you get that apology from your BFF. You may find that you feel more secure about your future when you have a clearer head.

Meet With Your Advisor

Discussing potentially switching majors with your friends or classmates is a start, but it shouldn’t be the only place you go. Your advisor is your best bet. He or she can discuss your academic performance, the requirements of your current program, and alternative majors you may have in mind. Really, they are a one-stop-shop for all things majors!

Be sure to schedule your academic advising appointment ahead of any registration period as their hours fill up quickly. And if you’re talking about a whole change, of course, you’ll want to have time to review the new major’s requirements and see how it fits in with your current schedule and if it will impact graduation time.

See Into the Future

If you’re more worried about your career prospects when you graduate, skip the advisor and talk to your university’s career center. They don’t only do resume reviews. They also provide counseling for those unsure of what their major can do for them. With loads of resources and research, they know what is out there in terms of job prospects.

They can also help you discover where your talents are and if you’re in the right fitting major for your interests. Ask for a career assessment or a personality exam like Meyers-Briggs. The professional staff can review your results and give you feedback on both your characteristics and what makes you tick.

Mix It Up

If you’re seriously considering changing majors, why not try your new choice out first? Next semester, enroll in one of the required courses to see how it feels. It might turn out that you have the same feelings as you do about your current major. On the other hand, it might be the breath of fresh air you need to feel better about your choices.

Another benefit of taking courses outside your current major is that you might find that you miss it. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and seeing your old major from a new angle may show you that the grass isn’t always greener. Falling out of love with your major can be tough, but by giving your decision time, help, and professional advice, you can make the decision that is right for your future.

Should You Pull All-Nighters to Study?

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Highlighting and studying for the next exam

If you’re the procrastinating type or prefer to study at the last second, all-nighters may be your thing. But studying at night has some major downfalls for even the most dedicated night owls. On the other hand, cramming it all in the morning-of can be just as ineffective. Here’s how you can determine if you should study at night or wait for the morning — and how to maximize your time.

When to Study Til Dawn

Studying in the evening isn’t for the fainthearted. It can be exhausting and leave you reeling when you wake up the next morning. However, if you’ve got the temperament and schedule for it, you might actually be able to pull it off.

The best night students are the ones who have already conditioned their body to push past midnight. You know you’re one if bedtime is nonexistent or you love doing last minute Sudoku puzzles on your phone while your roommate sleeps. If you’ve been consistently doing this, then you’ve probably already trained your body and your mind to process information at a higher level late at night.

However, before you pick the evening, you’ll need to look at the clock. Your body needs at least seven hours of productive sleep to retain memory and have decent recall speeds. Any less and you’ll be dragging your feet. So, in other words, pulling an all-nighter for an 8 AM exam is not going to work in your favor. A 3 PM quiz, on the other hand, may just work with that sporadic sleep schedule.

If you’re going to go until the early morning, be sure you do it right. Avoid studying in bed or on a comfy chair you could potentially fall asleep on. Take breaks to move around or find new areas to study at. Drink your coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda early in your study session. And try smell techniques like with smelling lavender-scented essential oils to keep your mind alert all night long.

Note cards are one of the best studying tools

When to Leave It Til Morning Of

The morning of a test is a pretty risky choice, but sometimes it just happens. Whether you crash trying to stay up all-night or you just prefer to go from sunrise till class starts, those essential, last-minute study sessions sneak up on you.

Champion morning-study students have a few things in common. For one, they are regimented and know how to manage their time. You may be this type of person if you’re up early for a morning walk at the same time every morning. Morning studiers are also more visual learners who can process information quickly with items like flashcards or sample exams.

When deciding between night and morning, again consider your schedule. Hopefully, you’re well-rested so excessive drowsiness isn’t an issue. That’s a big win for morning studying. If you can commit to getting to bed early the night before, the morning might be the best time to study. You’ll also want to have at least one solid hour before your test and some time for fueling with a healthy breakfast.

If you want to pick the morning, it’s more about how you cram than when. Visual aids like flashcards or even simple slide shows work best while you’re still waking up. Singing songs or making up anagrams also stick in your mind for last-minute crams. Finally, don’t forget to move frequently and to break up studying into 25-30 minute sessions with 5-10 minute breaks in between so you can reset your brain before you hit the exam. Ultimately, whether you study at night or during the day, you can ace that exam if you know how your body and mind best works.

Parent’s Corner: Thanksgiving Break

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University campus on break

We have a lot to be thankful for this season — but nothing greater than for college-aged children coming home. Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to check in on college freshman. From gauging how they’re doing mentally or working out a plan on how to get them through the end of the semester, here’s how you can open up lines of communication, watch for any red flags, and help your freshman succeed.

Before the Break Starts

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a parent is to put too much pressure on your student before they’ve even left for home. Sure, you want to remind them to pack a sweater or try to convince them that flying is better than driving. But by nagging or upping their anxiety, they’ll look less forward to being with you.

Instead, try to remember that their break is meant to be a relaxing, easy going time. As adults, they should be allowed to make their own decisions, including mistakes. Let them lead the ship.

Upon Arrival

Depending on how far they have traveled, the first night may not be the best to judge their mental state or have a heart-to-heart. Allow the first day to be a quiet time. On the second day (or after they’ve settled in), ask them open-ended, nonjudgmental questions about school. For example: “You mentioned you have a tough schedule coming up next semester. What classes are you excited for?”

It can be tempting to slip in a few, “When I was in college…” stories, but for the most part, those are probably not helpful. Instead, practice active and patient listening skills. Talk less than them, use shorter sentences when they are replying, and allow them to vent or talk out a problem.

When Celebrating

Every student is different, but many freshmen are more humble about their accomplishments than their parents. Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family isn’t the time to shout out their great GPA or that they joined a sorority. Let them share the good news themselves!

In addition, don’t be offended if they’ve become guarded or want to keep holidays simple and small. Be open to changing plans.

parents enjoying time with their child over break

Before Heading Back to School

This is when red flags usually pop up. If a student talks about not wanting to go back, you know it might be time for a heart-to-heart or even an intervention. But more subtle signs that your student might be anxious include avoiding discussing next semester plans, asking for money, evading questions about their social life, or feeling a drastic shift in personality.

As parents of an adult, you can’t force your college student into any decision — even if the decision is in their best interest. However, you can offer your support and love. If your child does express fears that college isn’t working for them, listen without losing your temper. Sometimes all they need is a springboard. Other times, they want a person to tell them that they are there for them no matter the outcome. Luckily, if you have this talk before they leave, you can work out a game plan for the rest of the semester.

Once They’ve Returned

Even if you didn’t see any potential issues in your child, use post-break upswings in a mood to establish a connection when they’re on campus. Set up a calling schedule, send a care package or gift, and check in on details they discussed with (such as a professor they dislike or an internship they were applying to). They’ll love knowing you were listening to them just as much you’ll love that they opened up to you.