My daughter was in the middle of a very hectic semester filled with grueling math and engineering problem sets when the phone call came. Her best friend, in college on the opposite coast, was on the line telling Natalie that her mother had breast cancer. Grief-stricken, she left her studying and blindly walked across campus to the music building. Pulling out her old friend of 14 years, she tuned her violin and leafed through her worn copy of Johan Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for the Solo Violin. For the next 45 minutes, her strong fingers mastered the notes while her mind wrestled with the score. Tears were flowing, but the familiar discipline and the beloved music brought peace to her troubled heart.
Does your child have a Bach they can turn to when life becomes a bit too much to handle?
Do they know themselves well enough to know what can level out stressful situations?
If they don’t, you need to start helping them figure it out because this self-knowledge is critical before they head off to college. The transition from childhood to adulthood, from being a part of a family to living on their own is huge. It is filled with many unknowns. It is difficult. Without proper and healthy de-stressing techniques, it can be ugly.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of drugs and alcohol and other unsavory practices that college students use when life becomes hard to handle. Some students get lost in video games to avoid dealing with the real world. While these games seem harmless in theory, they have been responsible for the demise of the GPA on countless occasions. Because they don’t tire the kid out and have no logical stopping point, stressed students lose track of time and ultimately their lives.
I’ve watched students for many years and always find it interesting the healthy things that re-frame life for them:
- Some are athletes. The runner piles up miles on his tennis shoes, the swimmer does laps.
- Some are animal lovers. One young woman I know has, on her “What my college has to have” list, the requirement of a nearby horse barn. She needs to ride, to smell the smells, the feel the warmth of her beloved horses.
- Some have mastered martial arts and find the discipline calms their mind.
- Some are writers that bleed all over the page until the stress is written out.
Whatever it is that makes your child’s heart sing, it is important to identify it and understand how to work it into a busy college schedule. I’ve seen it make the difference in successfully navigating the college transition or flunking out and/or destroying health.
Find a Bach, you’ll be glad you did!
Jeannette Webb is founder of Aiming Higher Consultants, a firm dedicated to helping students gain admission to great colleges. Get her FREE Guide to help you avoid the mistakes made by many college-bound students.