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by Scott Lutostanski


The first winter break home is always exciting for college students. They just finished their first semester, probably spent their most time ever away from home, and adjusted to their new life living somewhere else. Hopefully, winter break is relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. But also, it’s a great time to debrief with your college student on the first semester and see if they have any feedback for themselves. As with anything in life, it’s always good to evaluate ourselves, look at what we did well, and what we can change. Below are 4 areas to talk to your college freshman about.


Academics- This is the big one. Did their grades meet their goals and expectations? What habits did they have that worked well? What classes should they have done more? What would they have done differently? What are the habits and changes they can make in second semester? Considering this is the most important part of college, there’s a lot of questions in this category that can be asked. It’s important for students to dissect their academics so they can determine how to up their game for next semester.


Lifestyle- Considering it’s most students’ first time living on their own, there are a lot of lifestyle choices that are now in their control. Their sleeping habits, exercise, diet, and general weekly activity. Taking care of yourself is obviously an important thing to learn in college and just like academics, it’s important to take a look at these things and decide if changes need to be made.


Extracurriculars- Are students satisfied with their level of extracurriculars? This is a good area to think about. I find that students think they should do more (ultimate frisbee intramurals, Finance Club, volunteer work, etc.), but when it comes to making it happen they drag their feet. Some students need a little nudge and by talking through this topic with someone else, it may give them the push to go ahead and get involved.


Social Life- For some students, they didn’t feel satisfied with their social life in the first semester. For others, they need to scale back a little because their busy social life was detracting too much. This is another important part of college life to reflect on and think about heading into second semester.


All of these topics are important areas for students to consider. A quick debrief and evaluation can be very helpful for students when they’re at home for winter break, away from campus, and able to reflect on their first semester.

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