Student Wellness Services

Queen's University
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Student Wellness Services

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The Transition to University

There is no doubt that the move from a high school to a university environment is a major change in a person's academic career. You and your child have not likely experienced as much change in your relationship since they first went off to daycare or started their formal education over a dozen years ago. In some ways the two experiences are very similar. Your child had to deal with a very new and stimulating environment that offered many challenges along with opportunities for growth and development. There were lots of new [Image: students on campus] people and situations that accelerated the process of them discovering and defining themselves as a unique person. It wasn't just about learning their ABC's back then and it is not just about learning the course content at University.

In each stage of our lives we have developmental challenges and models of student development say that university students need to manage a number of developmental tasks that are connected with developing autonomy. The university environment is ideal for this because of the degree of independence and reduced structure your child will find here. If they haven't already they will need to learn to regulate themselves and develop some self-discipline and that might take a little time. The good news is that while it is a big one, this is just one of a number of transitions that you and your child have already successfully accomplished, so the probability is that this one will be managed successfully as well. As one of our counsellors who has children in university has said, "If you can survive your child learning to drive, you can survive this."