From Associate Dean of Student Leadership

Cycles and seasons are part of the beauty and bother of working in education. As each semester begins, you also know in 15 weeks it will be ending. These beginnings and endings can bring great excitement as well as incredible stress for anyone on campus.

I assume the beginnings and endings even impact your home. As a parent or guardian of a George Fox student, my hunch is that you’re familiar with the emotions and patterns that surface when your student comes home for the academic breaks, when your student chooses to not return home from school, or when your student chooses some adventure away from home. These transition times can be rather stressful on our families as well at school.

When your student returns to campus for spring semester, they are immediately situating themselves for several decisions that will affect the following academic year. It might be hard to believe, but students are striving to prepare several months in advance! The spring semester is very full. Housing and meal plan decisions are being made, roommate decisions and conversations are happening, leadership positions are being pursued, academic courses are being configured, job and internship opportunities are being sought, and the list goes on and on. This list does not even speak to what graduating seniors are considering for their futures. A “little” stress begins to mount for many students.

Here are just a few of my recommendations or insights to help your student cope with some of the stress at school amongst the transitions.

Exercise, sleep and eat well. The basics seem to be the first thing to go when we’re stressed. Hopefully, your student knows what works for them, but it’s amazing to see how much better a student does when they take care of the basics.

Seek out sound counsel. Students can benefit from asking questions and seeking advice from people who are removed from the situation or who have walked in a similar situation before.

Take a little time to think through a decision. If time is warranted, take an evening or a couple days to consider the options.

Pray. Prayer is a reminder about what’s important and who is in control. It is an opportunity for God speak to us and through us.

Have some fun … take a break. We all need a break at times. Catch up with a friend, go to the movies, or read a book. Encourage your student to take a break from whatever is causing the stress. (I’m sure your student wouldn’t mind having a surprise card in the mail with a movie theatre gift card or a little extra cash for something fun!)

Here is my final advice for each of you: take a break for yourself. You deserve it. Plus, if you have a moment, send your student an e-mail or a hand-written note letting them know you’re thinking about them. It will mean more than you know.

Kristina Findley,
Associate Dean of Student Leadership