I am so excited to have one of my dearest friends and role models on the blog today, Tova Sido. Tova is a Christian author, speaker, and mom living in Dallas,TX. She is also the founder and host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Remedy!! The other day we asked YOU to submit what questions you had about going into college and below she is answering YOUR questions! So excited to share this with you and know you will learn a lot… I know I always learn when talking with Tova!!
Q: What is the best way to keep your values in a completely new environment?
A: This can be a tough one. One thing I learned from mistakes I made along the way is you HAVE to set your value system long before you ever have to use it. If you wait until “the moment” to make a decision as to whether or not you are going to give in to something, you will always give in. Someone told me a long time ago temptation is not a sin. This made me feel so much better about being tempted. We are ALL going to be tempted! But if we don’t know what our values are going in to the temptation, we will always give in. Sit down, think about, write about – and commit to a certain set of values. I WILL ALWAYS______________. and……I WILL NEVER____________. Having a clear understanding of what you stand for will help. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
Q: How to manage school while still being social?
A: This will be one of the greatest lessons life will teach you in college……BALANCE. In high school you still had your parents asking – Do you have homework? Did you DO your homework? How did you do on your test? When are you going to study? What time will you be home? These questions create accountability. Accountability for what you need to do vs. what you WANT to do. Do you need to do school work – absolutely! Do you need to have fun and go out? Of course! But there has to be balance. Creating and practicing balance will set you up for success for the rest of your life. Balance is a practice – and one of the most important lessons you have the opportunity to learn in college!
Q: How to handle leaving home for the first time?
A: This answer is so different for every single person Some kids can’t WAIT to get out of their home towns, cities, homes and get away, live on their own, try something new – and others are painfully afraid, homesick and have a very very difficult time adjusting. The best advice I can give here is TALK TO SOMEONE. If you are homesick, afraid, anxious, hurting, lonely – call your mom, find a counselor, text your dad – tell your best friend. You are NOT alone! And it’s really important to not be ashamed to any feelings that come with this HUGE transition. This is the first time you are leaving home. That’s a really big deal – and it affects every single person differently.
Q: I am going potluck and so afraid that my roommate is going to be the exact opposite of me. If she is, how do I handle that?
A: This was one of my biggest fears going to college – and the worst part is it came true. I was a happy “cheerleader” type – outgoing – fun-loving, upper-middle class city girl from Dallas ready to meet new people and embrace EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. My roommate was a very angry New Yorker who had a shaved head, hated everyone and only wore black clothes and combat boots – who was sick as a dog because she was coming off of a drug addiction. I had never tried a drug in my life. For the first month we barely spoke to each other. It was awful. And then something happened. One night I had a question about a class we were both taking (She was really really smart!) and we ended up talking all night long. We ended up becoming best friends and lived together all through college. One of my favorite quotes is, “When we begin to understand, then we can truly love”. In college you are going to meet so many people who don’t look or act like you – at all! You don’t have to be best friends with them – but I bet you both could learn a thing or two by understanding them better!
Q: I hear about a lot of girls getting eating disorders in college – this makes me nervous……??
A: It should! This is a real issue. So many girls go to college and you guessed it – gin the freshman 15! This can be incredibly tough for girls! It is SO important to stay healthy! To eat well, exercise and get enough rest. And if at any point you find yourself thinking about or experimenting with unheatlhy behaviors like taking pills or throwing up or starving yourself – GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! I have worked with so many young women who struggle with this and it’s not only heart breaking it’s LIFE THREATENING. Eating disorders damage women’s teeth, heart, bones – and not just temporarily. They can cause long term, life altering problems. If you find yourself being tempted or have friends who engage in these behaviors – get help and get them help!
Q: My mom is very over- bearing and wants to still be VERY involved with me, my friends, etc when I go to college. She is already talking about all the visits she is going to make. I am actually really looking forward to being on my own and learning to spread my wings away from her. How do I tell her?
A: I totally get both sides of this. I went to college – but I am also a mom. I think the best advice here is to be honest – but be as kind and gentle with your mom as possible. Chances are if she wants to be so involved it’s because she loves you so very much – so hearing you need some space – or would like some space might be tough for her. That’s okay. It’s TOTALLY normal for you to want to explore life on your own. Maybe a good way to bring it up is something like this, “Mom – you know how much I love and appreciate you When I go to college I have no idea how I am going to feel. I might be really homesick and need to all the time – but I might love it and want to try to make decisions and figure things out on my own. Can we take the first month of college to see how I feel before we determine how often you plan to come?”
Q: My mom and dad are divorced and both of them want to take me to college – but there is often tension between them and I just don’t want to deal with that. How do I handle this?
A: Kudos to you for being so mature! If I were you I would sit both parents down at the same time in the same room and I would be very open and honest about how you feel. I would let them know that this is a very unique and wonderful time in your life. That you are EXCITED and HAPPY about this next chapter – and you would like BOTH of them to be a part of it – but here are the boundaries: (and then list the boundaries – no fighting, you have to be kind, you need to work together, etc etc) – and if they can’t agree to it – then I would let them know you only want one of them to take you. Period
Q: I am so sad about COVID – and so scared about how this is going to affect my college experience. How do I get past the anxiety of the unknown?