The summer before college can be one of the most carefree, exhilarating times for incoming freshman. It’s a time where reality hits pause as friends try to soak up their last remaining months with one another before being catapulted into their next big journey in life. A time where the biggest decisions being made include where the location for the next bonfire get-together is and what color comforter one should choose for their college dorm.

Those three summer months before college can be over in a flash, and suddenly young adults are thrust into a new learning and living environment that puts their life skills to the test. Life skills that may have never been explored, discussed, or practiced. Skills such as: time management, adapting to new situations, making new friends, and household chores such as cooking and laundry. Young adults are likely to become overwhelmed with the onslaught of responsibilities thrown at them within their first few weeks of college if not properly prepared.

For some, college may be the first time they’ve truly been away from home. For others, college may be the escape they’ve been longing for to start to grow their roots as an independent. Either way, college is a new experience that requires a mature skill set that many do not prepare for. Some hold this elusive notion that college will be great no matter what, and ignore the fact that college is a change; a big change that requires adaptation.

Therapeutics services, such as ones offered by Balance Stress Management and Therapy, can assist in preparing incoming freshman for what lies ahead in their future transition while teaching them valuable life skills to help them succeed. Common topics that are covered for clients who fit this demographic include strengthening one’s self-esteem, developing and practicing healthy coping skills, navigating nutritional and fitness stressors, and handling potential homesickness.

Below are examples of how us therapists at Balance can help address the issues stated above.

Increasing one’s self-esteem- College can be both a confusing and exhilarating time as it allows individuals to start to solidify their unique identities. Incoming students are can be exposed to a wide, diverse group of people compared to the groups they were exposed toin high school. This exposure provides an opportunity for students to branch out of whatever group they were placed in in high school and explore different cultures, political parties, and ways of life. If one does not feel confident in their level of self-esteem, they may find college to be an intimidating dome where they feel uncomfortable testing the waters of their identity. Therapy can be useful in helping clients increase their self-esteem so they feel more confident immersing themselves into the college scene without giving up their identity to fit it.

Developing and Practicing Healthy Coping Skills- College brings to a life a new set of responsibilities which can be anxiety provoking for some. People are allotted more independence in choosing their schedules, which can be difficult to navigate if people have not mastered time management. Learning what coping skills work best for each individual is important in continually keep one’s mental health at its baseline. Our Art and Music Therapists at Balance can help brainstorm healthy coping skills such as mindfulness and art and music therapy, focusing on the importance of a holistic approach to tackle anxiety.

Navigating Nutritional and Fitness Stressors- Making healthy decisions in college can be difficult once one walks into their college’s dining hall. Food stations line the room, allowing for unlimited trips to every station. Learning to make healthy choices in these situations can be easier when one has a better understanding of the benefits of nutrition. Our Nutritionist on staff can help incoming college clients learn about the food groups and what is needed to maintain energy for those long nights studying. Educated eating is better eating. Other therapists on staff can help clients create realistic fitness goals for themselves to help them keep an active lifestyle, while our Neurofeedback therapist can explain the benefits of living an active lifestyle and these benefits can be mapped and measured through brain mapping.
Handling Potential Homesickness- For those who struggle with being away from their families or loved ones for an extended amount of time, our team of Marriage and Family Therapists can facilitate effective family therapy sessions to help ease anxieties related to attachment to help all members involved feel validated and taken care of. Going to college can affect not only the client, but the family as well, which is why approaching this specific issue from a systems theory approach is a recommended option.

College has been described by many as one of the greatest times of their lives. We at Balance hope this is the case for future college students, and hope we can serve as a vessel to help achieve this level of schooling satisfaction by helping prepare students for what they can expect so they are ready to take charge and lead their lives with confidence!

If you know of anyone who may fall under the demographic targeted in this article, feel free to call Balance Stress Management and Therapy at (847)-450-0524 or check out our website at to further explore the services mentioned above in detail.

We look forward to hearing from you.

-Mary Schufreider