Update : Semi Good news

<p>Hello Everyone,
Last year this time I was one of 8 separate parents who had created their own threads on their freshman's first terrible year and associated emerging emotional health issues.</p>

<p>My original thread began in the senior year of high school:
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/914272-please-help.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/914272-please-help.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>And I had updated the thread after the first semester of college and again when S finally left during the second quarter. He was home for 7 months.</p>

<p>Well, some good news-- small, but progress.</p>

<p>S spent a few months repairing his emotional and physical health and returned to school this fall in the planned STEM major at one of the top schools in the country (and his field as well).</p>

<p>Against our advice, he didn't take it slow- but plunged in with 4 very hard courses-- continuing the sequence in his intended major and exploring entry point courses in two other areas of interest (for a potential minor or double major). He always has big plans and dreams, but when it gets down to hard work- a bit tougher. He lives off campus with some friends in private housing.</p>

<p>His mid semester grades were 2 Bs and 2 B+s both very close to an A. He realistically said he knew courses were getting tougher second half of the semester and he was hoping for 3 Bs and 1 A.
Well he changed one course to a Pass/Fail which he passed (without having to take the final!)
He ended up with 1 B, 1 C and he thinks the other course could be either a C or a B . he said he didn't do well on an exam, a lab after thanksgiving and the final was very hard.
So his overall GPA for the semester is somewhere between a C+ to a B- for the semester in 4 very demanding classes. He's off academic probation! His external scholarship was revoked sadly -- but he is now borrowing the full amount of student loans to match what he lost.</p>

<p>Should I be happy? I guess it's a small consolation, he finished a semester at a very very tough school, he's dealing with his emotional issues without medication (his choice) and overall appears to be more than just existing - but geniunely happy.</p>

<p>Do we encourage him to return without conditions?
I'd like to see him get a personal academic coach - someone at the school to help him with time management.
Since he went down hill mid semester, that's a concern.
He's fragile and I'm not even convinced it's not some sort of seasonal disorder. The high school and freshman year problems always started with the cold weather and fewer daylight hours. This is an afterthought that just occurred to me.</p>

<p>So I know there will be many of you out there who will have freshman coming home and you'll possibly be where I was last year. A parent not knowing how to help and certainly not wanting to spend thousands of dollars for a return to pricey wonderful U for a pile of Ds.
My advice, don't encourage you S/D to return for spring. Do insist on medical intervention.<br>
I had received may PMs about how it all works out eventually. And it did.
Slow progress, but progress.</p>

<p>Happy Holidays</p>

<p>"overall appears to be more than just existing - but geniunely happy"</p>

<p>This. Is. Huge. Congratulations. I personally think this isn't semi good news - just plain good news. (But maybe my standards have been lowered by my own vulnerable son who experiences melt-downs, lol.) May it just get better and better. </p>

<p>Thanks for the update.</p>

<p>That's good.
You may try time management professional courses. Off the transcript but every bit professional-Stephen Covey, etc</p>

<p>I think that is AWESOME news! So much success to be found in that post :) Is he continuing into the spring? Do you worry that the cumulative effect is going to cause relapse? I would continue to urge him to take fewer classes in order to safeguard against backsliding and emphasize that success -- even in small, slow, doses --- is still success! We are currently where you were, and I am so encouraged by your news. Congratulations. B's and C's where there was once failure is truly great stuff.</p>

<p>I did not read your original thread, but what you post here sounds pretty good to me. It is important to remember that change is incremental. It does not usually happen that things turn around quickly. They take time and effort. Sometimes we don't seem to be making much progress, but when we turn around and look behind us, we see how far we have really come. Sounds to me like your son has come quite a ways from where he was. Celebrate the progress of the journey and don't worry that he hasn't reached the end yet. He will get there :)</p>

<p>Every time the phone rings and he calls I anticipate the call "Mom I'm done".</p>

<p>He's dug a steep hole to get out of with his GPA. While many of his friends have glorified high end jobs in Silicon Valley each summer, he'll be lucky to get job anywhere with his GPA and he has no shot at external scholarships for which coming out of HS he walked on water.
This kid had his choice of MIT, Stanford, CMU and a ton of Ivies-- so to see him like this still is hard for me to know he's so far from his academic potential at this point.</p>

<p>I told him I was happy he made it through a semester and asked him if he wanted to return. he says yes and says he knows he has to handle time management better. He doesn't seem depressed like he was at all. Too relaxed as if things don't matter. I hate to bring up that it does matter-- b/c if we are paying for this type of school and he wants an easy stress free ride-- he could simply attend our state u and be just fine.
But having this conversation might send him to a bad space again.</p>

<p>Thanks for your encouragement.</p>

<p>To all you parents with failing freshman-- Please, don't let them go back simply because that seems like the only path. It's not and we're glad are son took one semester off.</p>

<p>At some point, I think we all need to adjust to our kids' capabilities. Your son may have 'what it takes' intellectually - but not emotionally. That glorified high end Silicon Valley job could very well do him in - the stress, the competition, the impossibly high stakes: that's not for everybody. If he graduates in CS from CM (where I understand he is) he will do just fine in life. I would rather have a well-adjusted child with an average career than a high achieving disaster-waiting-to-happen. Count your blessings. Your child is improving. He's performing at a competitive school and in a tough field. Do you know how many parents would change places with you in an instant?</p>

<p>(I know you do. I'm just saying this as a reminder: keep things in perspective. What-might-have-beens are just a waste of emotions and time. I say that as someone who has to remind herself this every week.)</p>

<p>I am happy that things are looking better! One thing struck me, your mention of his affect getting worse with the colder weather and shorter days. Has he tried light therapy? Maybe studying or relaxing under a bright sunlamp would improve his fall slump. One of my Canadian cousins uses his religiously in the winter and his mood has really improved. Just a thought...</p>

<p>Definitely count your blessings. My gosh, he grew from this experience, it is still really early in the game, he is happy and he is safe and he's doing a great job at a top school in a tough program! Do you really need more right now? </p>

<p>This kind of 'what if' thinking, and seeing the glass half empty, and expecting him to 'meet his potential' is exactly what drives these breakdowns. SAT scores are not particularly predictive, and nor is highschool achievement predictive, of exactly where a kid will fall in the distribution at a top university in a tough field. Think about it for a moment- all of his classmates no doubt are of the exact same calibre as your son, and yes, a good percentage will not get As. So there is simply no way you as a parent can know what he <em>should</em> be getting. </p>

<p>Moreover, curriculums build on themselves so what he wasn't able to learn in his bad period of mental illness is probably playing some role now as he catches up.</p>

<p>And you know, one's world should not be revolving around GPA. Not even close.</p>

<p>That's great. Thanks for the update. As you probably recall from many other CC threads... there are lots of paths these bright/challenged kids go down, and some of them are not so pretty. You son has managed to rebound - that's terrific.</p>

<p>"I'd like to see him get a personal academic coach - someone at the school to help him with time management." - I hope you find a way to make that work. On some campuses you can find this kind of help (or references to paid helper)... but it can be a hard sell for bright and proud teens. Please post any progress in this area.</p>

<p>So happy for you (and your S) overachieversmom. It is so hard to watch them fall apart and such a joy when you see them putting themselves back together. We had a similar experience except our S2 is a very avg. student who bombed him first sem. (4 F's and 2 D's) at state u. He managed to pull it together after that and will grad. in May (after four years, four sessions of summer sch. and various ups and downs). Good Luck to your S. It can happen!</p>

Congrats to your S -- four+ years in school and he's going to walk the aisle! yay!</p>

<p>How's the job hunting going?
Do employers seem concerned about the gpa or the lapse?</p>

<p>Don't dismiss the "sun" theory. My oldest was very affected by the gray winter days and his grades always slipped those months all through elementary, middle and high school. He went to college where the sun shines almost every day and his grades were far more consistent in college.</p>