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Unhappy freshman

whoopdeedoowhoopdeedoo Posts: 6 Harvard Champion
edited May 2013 in Parents Forum
D is in a funk. Finished frosh year at a HYP school. Was very active and involved including cheerleading for football and basketball, multiple plays/musicals/productions, and easy paid work which allowed studying with a great hourly pay rate. Kept a GPA at around 3.8. But is missing the sun and the perceived free-living social life of college in SoCal. Is interested in applying for a transfer to USC for better social life, better greek system, better sports and school spirit and better sun. We live in SoCal. Career ideas include film producer, advertising, marketing etc. Cost will be approx. the same for both schools....full freight at both. Alternatively, D is thinking about transferring to a CC, working full time, and applying to USC as a Jr. It's unclear to me if D thinks that she is too smart to need a degree for a job, is too smart to need the HYP name for any boost in jobs, or wants to save money. Does not want to attend UCLA due to weaker alumni networks.
I am at a loss as to how to advise her. D wouldn't be able to apply to USC until Jan, but is even thinking about not returning to HYP to go to a CC. It's difficult to figure out exactly how unhappy D is, but if she is considering a CC, she must be fairly unhappy. I'm concerned that this unhappiness might still be present even if D transferred. I've recommended counseling when D was at HYP; now that D is home for the summer, any counseling will probably cost money. Advice?
Post edited by whoopdeedoo on

Replies to: Unhappy freshman

  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Posts: 11
    edited May 2013
    Very tough to watch.

    " any counseling will probably cost money. Advice?"

    I say spend the money.
  • minimini Posts: 105
    edited May 2013
    Did she have a relationship go awry? (I'm suspicious...) (Is this a troll?)
  • whoopdeedoowhoopdeedoo Posts: 6 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Nope, D denies a relationship at college. Had a BF during HS for 1 year. At HYP, D says that the guys are either good looking but arrogant/d o u c h e y, nice but homely, or fun and awesome but gay. Unfortunately, being from SoCal, much emphasis is placed on attractiveness by her.
  • whoopdeedoowhoopdeedoo Posts: 6 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Psychiatrist or psychologist or "counselor" i.e. master's degree? May be depression. Doesn't not outwardly seem depressed, though.
  • ariesathenaariesathena Posts: 34
    edited May 2013
    Is it culture shock? A lot of people, myself included, have very unhappy freshman years but go on to love the experience.

    Also, your D sounds overworked. No kidding she wants a more laid-back atmosphere after all of that! Tell her to ease up on herself. College isn't high school wherein you do ten extracurricular activities.

    Would she even get financial aid at USC as a transfer?
  • whoopdeedoowhoopdeedoo Posts: 6 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Definitely is partly culture shock. The winter this year was very bad with hurricane Sandy and some really bad storms while "at home" we were wearing shorts. As for being overworked, I told D not to get a job and also to not join a sorority until soph year. D loves to be busy though. The issue seems that she wants a better social life though, rather than too much work. Maybe fewer ECs will allow more time to socialize? I figured that D was socializing in her ECs. Maybe D had spent so much time pushing forward to get accepted to HYP that she doesn't know how to "turn it off."

    No fin aid at USC due to our EFC. USC might give a merit award of $11K per year at the most, but it's hard to get.

    I'm curious as to what made your personal experience improve starting soph year?
  • LasMaLasMa Posts: 14
    edited May 2013
    Doesn't not outwardly seem depressed, though.

    She may or may not be depressed, but something is going on. I agree with Shrinkrap; send her to a professional to help her sort through it.

    BTW, depression isn't the only condition that therapists/counselors deal with.
  • jamminjjamminj Posts: 10 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    If she lived in sunny SoCal all her life, and then moved to the Northeast, that was probably a huge culture shock to her. You mentioned the weather, and although I lived in the Northeast most of my life, I used to get "depressed" during the late fall and winter months every single year. It's grey and cold from late October through late March, sometimes even into May. On the rare sunny day in December, I can remember sitting in front of a window to get some sun on my face because it was just too darn cold to go outside. Also, coming from a more "well to do" area in NY, the kids can be brutal sometimes. Of course not all of them, but some/most. I know personally that it can be rough.
    I agree that she should probably see a professional to help sort this out.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 296
    edited May 2013
    She (or you) should check her current school's withdrawal and readmission policies. If she withdraws in good standing and comes home (whether to attend a CC or not attend a school at all for the next semester or year), she may be able to return to her current school if she changes her mind (or if there is a medical / mental health issue that is figured out and solved).
  • minimini Posts: 105
    edited May 2013
    She might be suffering from hyp. Don't assume that her difficulties are not well-founded, given what she is seeking.

    (Back in the dark ages, I had a difficult time my first year. And the things that made me unhappy the first year did not get any better, but I found other ways to compensate, and some new coping mechanisms. And I got a great education - looking back at it, I wouldn't do it again, but I am grateful for the education I received.)
  • BobWallaceBobWallace Posts: 66
    edited May 2013
    I agree on the counseling.

    Perhaps more appealing than CC would be Arizona or Arizona State - sunny, school spirit, social life type schools, and both are still looking for fall applicants.

    Or maybe a year off with no school and doing some volunteer work or working a job would be better therapy.
  • moonchildmoonchild Posts: 62
    edited May 2013
    If she is serious about film production, advertising and marketing, it's hard to imagine a better school than USC. I don't think the HYP name will give her a boost relative to USC in California.
    The east coast does have a very different culture than the west. She may just not feel that she fits in. If she were my kid, I'd let her transfer. Besides, she'll be nearby. If she still is unhappy after the move, you'll be able to help her get counseling.
    But is missing the sun and the perceived free-living social life of college in SoCal.
    I'd argue that it's not "perceived," but quite real.
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 24
    edited May 2013
    I agree with moonchild but, if you're unsure, have her take a leave of absence during which she can intern and figure out the best plan with a counselor.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 57
    edited May 2013
    I also agree with moonchild and 2college.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Posts: 5
    edited May 2013
    I am surprised that her school doesn't have a fun social life, although if it is the one in NJ, perhaps I understand. I have a friend who has older very accomplished kids, and she says that her kids' friends who went to that one ended up very unhappy. I realize that many go there and love it etc, but it seems harder to like than the other two. I think if your kid was in boston or new haven this last year, the weather was --- awful, even for the Northeast - hurricanes, blizzards, a bombing in boston accompanied by a lockdown, not at all good. It made me think of 9/11 and how scared people were to go to NYC after that happened. College students generally love the social life in Boston because there are so many colleges and young people.

    In general I think freshman year is hard in terms of finding people that you really like. Some people are lucky and click with their dorm or team or whatever, but this is not everyone's experience. I would have thought being a cheerleader or in plays would have been fun, but if you just don't click with the people, then it would feel lacking in some respects. I thought all of these schools have good sports teams (Yale did well in hockey and lacrosse this year, Princeton had a good hockey team, and Harvard had good basketball. Ivy football is never that great compared to football powerhouses...)

    In my own undergrad, I found lots of new friends sophomore and junior years who ended up being my long term friends from college. I had a couple of friends from freshman year, but I really got to know them after the first year. Other friends of mine say their kids also did not have the same friends later as they did at the beginning.
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