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Heading to college? Here's what a psychologist recommends for Kansas City students and parents

Students wearing backpacks walks across a crosswalk on Jayhawk Boulevard.
Abigail Censky
Students wearing backpacks walks across a crosswalk on Jayhawk Boulevard at the University of Kansas.

College students are gearing up to head back to campus for another school year, but for first-years, the transition to a university setting and dorm living can be a hard one.

The transition from high school to college is an exciting milestone in a student's life, but it can also bring about challenges for both students and their parents.

One of the biggest challenges for first-years is adapting to the new environment. Moving away from home, living in a dorm, and being surrounded by unfamiliar faces can be overwhelming. Students may experience homesickness, anxiety, or difficulty making new friends.

Parents, on the other hand, may worry about their child's well-being and struggle with empty nest syndrome.

Caroline O'Conner is currently a sophomore at the University of Kansas, but is originally from Oklahoma. She recalls during her time as a first-year where she felt uncomfortable but had to learn how to rely on herself more.

"'I actually have a better relationship with myself now because I've been forced into this new environment that college allowed me to have," O'Conner said.

Family psychologist Wes Crenshaw encourages families to have open communication with each other to address any concerns or feelings of homesickness, and for students to participate in campus events and clubs to meet new people and build a support network away from home.

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