You are unique - just like everybody else
The transition from young to adult
The development-goal for youth and students is independence. Just like newborn babies we are dependent on our caretakers. Throughout life, we go from total dependence, gradually towards independence, and mostly towards being an adult. This transition comes naturally and happens almost automatically. We are however dependent on support, care, and safety from our parents or other caretakers, to accomplish a healthy and good development. We are social beings, and we need others throughout our whole life.
Most students are within the age group of young adults. One is on the journey from being a youth to full adulthood, on a journey from the relatively unobligated, to the strongly obligated. One often feels uncertain and worrisome about not finding their place in their surroundings. We seek out stable relations with other people, while at the same time fearing loneliness and rejection. Denied anxiety and uncertainty from crises and upheavals from earlier life can now again be activated, and become an additional burden to bear. Everything usually ends up all right, even though it’s rarely like we had planned.
So far in educational settings, many might have been those who could easily deal with theoretical subjects, but at universities and colleges, it’s not obvious to be among the best. Most people have to be satisfied being among the majority of normal, good students. This can be a new and difficult situation causing stress and performance anxiety. Making goals for yourself, and finding possible careers is a difficult task.
Relations to other students
As a student you come to universities and colleges from different geographical places and social environments. Some from Norwegian cities, some from the countryside. Many lose daily contact with their home and come into a society where you in many ways start over: socially and academically. Many experience loneliness in life as a student. Being a new student you have to build a new support system or social network as a replacement for the one you left behind. Good relations are important, but not everyone feels like that's an easy task being someplace new.
Relations with parents / the ones at home
Being a young adult, relations with parents and family can be difficult. The transition from the original child-adult relation to adult-adult relation gives freedom, but can also be the cause of conflict. If natural freedom and independence have stopped and get caught in bindings and dependence, being a student and living on your own as a student can speed up the development. It can become painful for parents if they don't realize that they have to let go. Young people that haven't learned to stand on their own two feet can be confronted with the necessities of making their own choices and being on their own. You have to keep track of your own economy and take reflected choices. This responsibility of your own life can feel overwhelming. Problems can occur if parents criticize new ways of living and new interests, and expect grown children to be accountable for performances and grades.
Many students go around feeling guilty because they feel their parents need them at home, others are worried about their parents' health, economy, and cohabitation. Sometimes the caretaker roles are flipped upside down and the parents use their children for comfort and as their confidants. Many students have expressed how helpless it feels to try and fix their parents' lives. In these situations, your closest relations don't function as support. Parents forget that students have enough with their studies and other challenges in their own life.
A unique time: with uncertainty and opportunities for development
Your time as a student is a period with great changes on various levels, and in many areas. Studying can thus be described as a natural development-crisis; everything that has been known in life until now, like for instance residential area, friends, economy, relations to the ones at home changes, and you're not fully familiar with this new "landscape". You are vulnerable when facing new opportunities and situations. This creates stress and we can have reactions to all these changes, that can be felt both physically and mentally. The crisis/reaction is thankfully only temporary for most of us until we are familiar with our surroundings, new people, and new sides to ourselves.
Ask for and receive help when it’s needed
There are a lot of things you can do to take good care of yourself, but if you feel like there is too much adversity, know that there is help available. Some students are facing harder troubles in life than what we have described above. However, we hope that most students find something useful here. But what if you feel like you need something more?
The aim for your time as a student is as previously stated "to be independent", but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything all by yourself. Being independent also means cooperating with others, and daring to ask for help. Here we have put together a list of other help offers. There are a lot of people who can help you, and SiS Health wants to be there for you as a student.
We are here for you if you need it, and we wish you the best of luck with your studies.