College is not just about getting a fancy degree. It’s a rite of passage for young adults before they become independent individuals. It’s when you foray into the realm of adulthood. It’s a time to spread your wings intellectually, emotionally and socially.
But students do not magically transform into adults as soon as they enter college. Though they are no more high-schoolers living in the same house as their parents, they are still teenagers and young adults – who crave and require – parental support and security.
There’s never a good time to deal with your parents’ divorce and your college years are extra complicated. Coping and managing your parents’ divorce announcement while trying to find your place in college – can be overwhelming. It can make an already tricky period extra challenging.
When You First Hear The Separation News
It’s common for parents to wait to divorce until their children have left the parental home. They reason that – the children are no longer young but mature adults who can better handle the news. But generally, this isn’t the case. Divorce and separation have far-reaching effects on kids, whether 12 or 21.
If the news makes it difficult for you to focus on academics, you can always seek help. Hire class help online and explain your situation, “I’m dealing with a difficult situation at home. Can I pay someone to take my online class for a few weeks?”
With that out of the way, you can now focus on your emotions around the divorce. It’s common to feel sad, shocked, angry, hurt, insecure or scared. Even if you knew that your parents’ marriage was troubled, you would likely have mixed feelings when the formal divorce announcement happens. Similarly, it’s pretty normal not to have feelings about it. It’s okay to feel emotional, even when you aren’t too attached to your parents.
What You Can Do
- Do not get caught up in the conflict between your parents. Do not take sides. It’s their relationship and their decisions.
- If one or both parents are leaning heavily on you or using you as their soundboard, let them know that you do not want to be involved. Ask them to connect with another adult or get professional help.
- Talk with your parents together or separately about what will happen next.
- Connect with your siblings and see if you can all brave the storm together.
- Remember, you’re likely to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. So, talk to your friends, especially if you know anyone who has gone through a similar experience.
- It might also be sensible to discuss the situation with your professors or student counselor so that they know why you’re finding it difficult to concentrate in class.
- Try to become financially independent as soon as possible. Take up part-time roles or internships to supplement the money you receive from your parents.
- Build your support eco-system. This includes friends, professors and long-term partners if you are in a serious relationship. While your support system won’t replace your biological family, they can help you overcome this challenging period.
For more help and professional guidance, you can always reach out to the student services counselor at your university.