When the going gets tough …
By Stuart D. Jones, Dean of Enrollment
A month into my freshman year at college, I wanted to drop out and go home. My next step was to convince my parents. During a weekend visit, I explained my unhappiness and desire to come home until I could figure out my next move. My father, quite sternly, said, “Stuart, if college was easy, everybody would do it. You’re not dropping out!” I headed back to campus angry and frustrated. A few years later, with college degree in hand, I was thankful for his tough love and determination that logic would preside over emotion.
Ironically, 30 years later, I sit in the Dean’s chair conducting exit interviews with students who want to drop out of Manchester College after only a few weeks. I want to say, “You’re not dropping out!” since I know their reasoning is based on emotion rather than logic. Some have already given in to their emotion – packed, with parents waiting in the car. Others listen to logic during our conversation and decide to stay. They are still here – and have thanked me for that.
When a student feels homesick or overwhelmed, emotion overtakes logic, and the desire to leave dominates their thinking. They are willing to forgo paid tuition and leave with no course credits to transfer in pursuit of emotional relief. That relief fades quickly once they return home and reality sets in – they have lost money, and have no job or credits to transfer elsewhere.
Many parents are quick to try and rescue their student. They want to fix their problems and heal their pain. But the bandage that truly heals the wound is not letting them drop out. “You’re not dropping out,” isn’t an easy message to hear, nor is it easy to deliver. But staying firm and offering positive support will challenge your student to work through their own difficult circumstances. It’s a lesson they must learn in life to be successful.
Read more about homesickness on the Counseling Services website.