“I’m not going back to varsity”. Words you never wanted to hear from your child. Whether it’s because they’re feeling isolated and lonely, have realised that they are studying the wrong thing or just can’t seem to keep up with the pace of the work and the many demands associated with student life, countless parents will be faced with the dreaded situation of having to deal with the fact that their teen doesn’t want to go back to varsity. The question is, what do you do and how should you tackle the problem?
Talk Openly about why they don’t want to go back to varsity
It might be that your teen simply needs a bit of a pep talk and a warm hug to summon the strength to keep going. Or there might be a much bigger issue at play, like depression or anxiety. Either way, you’ll want to speak openly with him or her in order to ensure that you fully understand the reasons for him / her not wanting to go back.
Chat About What They DO Want to Do
If your young adult doesn’t want to return to varsity, it isn’t unreasonable to expect them to have already thought about an alternative plan.
- Do they want to change their major or study at another institution?
- Would they prefer to enter the working world and get a job instead?
- Is their heart set on travel and ‘finding themselves’ before making any decisions regarding their future?
No matter what their plan is, opening up about it will undoubtedly make everyone feel a little bit more relaxed about the whole situation.
Don’t Make Them Feel Bad
The prospect of dropping out of varsity has probably already made your young adult feel like a failure. You don’t want to add to that, especially if mental health concerns are the underlying reason for his or her abrupt departure.
Do your best to be supportive and provide guidance in as objective a way as possible. The more open you are to hearing their feelings and wishes, the more likely they will be to keep you in the loop and open up to you.
Encourage Them to Take Their Time
Unless your child is desperately unhappy or there is a deadline looming over your heads, like a cut-off time allowing you to get your deposit back or an application deadline for another university that your child is keen on moving to, encourage him or her to take their time in making this decision. It is a big one, after all.
You might want to advise them to seek the help of a career counsellor or to chat to someone currently working in the field in which they are interested in exploring. They might realise that they have jumped to conclusions, or were just having a bad day, and change their minds. By not rushing into things, they will still have the opportunity to do that.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that this specific situation is not uncommon. Sometimes it takes a few tries to really figure out what it is that you want to do with your life. The best thing that you can do, as a parent, is to be supportive, understanding and accommodating. Your child will thank you for it both now and in the future!