Published: Aug. 27, 2019


There is one thing that remains constant in life: change. Whether it’s moving away from home, living with a new roommate or starting a new job, many students are adjusting to change as they start a new academic year. 

And students aren’t the only ones experiencing change. Whether your student is away from home for the first time or back in Boulder for another year, it can be an adjustment to take a step back and let your student make their own decisions. Getting used to change can take time, and everyone’s timeline looks different. Finding ways to cope with change can build resilience and prepare us for other life transitions.

Here are some tips to share with your student, or even use yourself.

Develop a routine

Routines and consistency can create a sense of familiarity in new situations and environments. Encourage your student to start a daily routine with a consistent bedtime and wake up time. They could also find a spot to take a break between classes and a regular route to get there.

If you’re also coping with change, consider your own routines. Set up a weekly coffee date with a friend or make time for a hobby you enjoy.

Listen and ask questions

Whether your student is excited or nervous (or both!) about changes a new semester can bring, it can be helpful to have a space where they can share how they are feeling. Ask open-ended questions to give your student an opportunity to talk things out. Validate their feelings if they are apprehensive. Let them know that everyone manages change differently and it’s common to worry about what the future brings. However, stretching the boundaries of our comfort zone is how we grow.

Prioritize health

Maintaining our well-being can help the mind and body feel more regulated through times of change. Talk with your student about the importance of finding balance and taking care of their health when they get to campus. This can include:

  • Getting a consistent amount of sleep (7–9 hours per night for college-aged students)
  • Eating regular, balanced meals
  • Staying active
  • Finding time to relax
  • Connecting with friends and family

Connect with others

Having people we can talk to helps during times of transition. For your student, getting involved can lead to new connections with other Buffs who have similar interests. Encourage them find their community and get involved, whether it’s through their residence hall, student clubs, a part-time job or intramural sports or sport clubs.

There are opportunities for Buff families to get involved and make connections as well. Learn more about how you can get involved with our family programs.