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Friends matter in College

Things have changed somewhat by now in your household as your sons and daughters have begun a new journey bringing them to the next stage of becoming more independent and meeting new people at college.

Spare a thought for them as they might also be a little worried by these steps into the unknown. The pressures of making new friends, and of remaining loyal to old ones, can bring on anxieties and fears. Rest assured that for most this will pass without too much complication.

Friends are important. The want to belong to a community of people is great within all of us. At college, students will meet lots of new people and make lasting friendships. These friendships will shape and define their lives, make the experience worthwhile, be a source of fun and relief, provide a crutch in difficult times and act as a gauge on their progress.

The comfort scaffolding of the second-level school order, discipline and familiarity is no longer available at college and students have to take control and responsibility and make all the decisions about their social development in quite a short period of time.

This can be daunting for you as a parent too as probably for the first time in almost 18 years, you will not know anything about your son’s or daughter’s new friends and acquaintances or their activities.

You may never meet these people or indeed their families, a practice somewhat alien to the comfortable set up of second-level school where there are endless opportunities to meet their friends at family or community events and/or sporting and school events.

Clubs and societies

College clubs and societies are an integral part of the solution regarding adapting to the new social scene and developing networks in college. There is lots happening and there will be something to suit your son’s or daughter’s needs. Encourage them to get involved. Making friends extends far beyond the lecture theatres.

College life offers more than an academic experience. It allows students an opportunity to expand and develop socially in an environment which encourages freedom of expression and movement.

Friends matter.
Article written by Catherine O'Connor

Catherine O'Connor, Trinity College Dublin, works as an Education Consultant and is Author of 'Cracking the College Code', a practical guide to making the most of the first year college experience. 

Published by CJ Fallon Ltd., and available at all bookshops for €12.99 and
 online here.