New Living Arrangements & Social Situations
- Change of routine, sharing a room, communal bathrooms, restricted opportunities for cooking, lots of activity, living closely with the opposite sex; residence life may be comforting or exciting sometimes, and troublesome at others.
- It can be tiring and distressing to be surrounded by strangers, and feeling the (normal!) need to gain the approval of others. Your student may not yet have well-formed opinions on politics, religion, the environment, etc. and feel left out if the floor-mates have discussions. Or your student may feel "different" for many reasons, and therefore lonely. Upper-year students, called "Dons", live in the residences to help new students with the transition.
- The opportunity exists to form rich, close and long-lasting friendships, as your student experiences the transition to university with his/her peers.
- Students may live with you, board with another family, live alone, or share a student house. If he/she forms connections to campus through extra-curricular clubs, sports, etc. he/she is more likely to feel like a member of the Queen's community.
- A sense of belonging- among friends, at Queen's, in Kingston, and possibly in Canada- will take time and effort to develop.
- Meeting new people means having new experiences, which may involve making new moral decisions. This may cause stress for both you and your student as the journey of self-discovery unfolds. It is also an accurate reflection of urban adult life and the need for independent problem-solving skills.
- Homesickness is common in the early adjustment period, and may last for months in some students.
- Creating a feeling of "home" (through photos, scrap books, familiar objects, blogs to friends, calls home, etc.) helps establish a "safe place" when away from family.
- Seeking distractions, through social events or eating with a floor mate, helps dispel the feeling of "nobody cares about me".
- Regular quiet time to relax in familiar ways helps build resiliency to the stress of the new situation.
- Homesickness may persist until the student can make the shift: "You'll never be able to enjoy the present if you are living in the past."