College Counseling Connecticut: The results of the college crossroads

By College Counseling

The pandemic has created a dampening effect on motivation.  This has afflicted both parents and students.

In the near term, this is a problem because when people go through the motions instead of strive to reach their potential they are not as happy.

But short term problems need not have lasting impact.  An unmotivated 4th grader can be redirected in 5th grade and not much about his life will be altered.

But for high school sophomores and juniors, this is the worst time to have a motivational crisis since the short term problem could lead to a long term disaster.

I have been working with students for 2o years as they have moved from high school to college to career.  Helping students succeed in school has been rewarding but the most satisfaction has come from helping students and parents deal with high stakes decisions related to college and career.

I still get Christmas cards from families that I have not met with for many years.  The updates almost always include: “Mike is doing great….” in whatever career track he’s on and some reference to how much our work helped put him on the right path to a college that fit and a major that led to a desired career path.

In the last year, as I worked with harried seniors sorting out college, the most common refrain was: “we are so behind.”

Given the pandemic, some parts of the college search made everyone behind.  College visits – the most tangible part of the process – have been a mess. The uncertainty regarding other parts of the process have created confusion which has become a motivational deflator.

But there is something more… and it’s distinctly psychological.

There is a flatness in the air.  When I label it as such, I get many head nods from Shoreline, CT parents.  Their children are not striving and they feel too exhausted to push them to strive.

Certainly, this might be helpful on the highest end of the neurotic striver curve. But for most others, this is not only a short term challenge but potentially a huge problem when facing a cross roads like college.

Your child is moving into adulthood.  Leaving to college is the suburban Connecticut ritual for doing so.

It also means he/she will be in an entirely new environment.   New people, place, work.  All are significant.

Getting it right matters.  A lot.

We can help.