Grown & Flown: Helping Your Student Through Homesickness and Mental Health Needs

A mother and daughter walk on Rowan Boulevard smiling.

The Grown & Flown series features wisdom and insight from parents of current Rowan Profs, to help parents of new Rowan Profs. The transition of parenting a child at home to parenting a young adult at college is an important one, and Rowan parents are here to help our community. 

A mother and son embrace outside Holly Pointe Commons.

How did you support your student through homesickness?

Our family lives close enough to campus that it was probably hard to imagine our student feeling ‘homesick.’  If that did happen, however, I would probably use some of the following strategies: send encouraging texts at different times during the day, have a set time or times to check in during the week with different formats – maybe a phone call, Facetime,  or Zoom.  I would  do this a couple times a week if needed, but I would work with my student to set a schedule ahead of time that meets his or her needs.  It would be beneficial to not be having check-ins every day, but instead to help them be able to stretch them out.  Maybe once a day, if they are struggling at first, and then move to every other day, then to every three days , and so on to help them become more independent.  If they are living on Rowan’s campus, approaching their Community Assistant would be a great step because the Community Assistant can share some strategies for coping with homesickness and share some activity ideas to help them get more involved and feel more connected with campus activities.  There are a lot of volunteer opportunities on campus and that’s always a great way to meet new people and to do something that helps you feel good and stay busy resulting in less homesickness.” ~Lori Bathurst, ‘24 Parent

A family of four, with a new Rowan Prof wearing a Rowan t-shirt standing in the middle.

What is your stance on home visits? Do you limit them, to nudge your student toward making the most of the on campus experience?

“I definitely nudged my student to make the most of all the activities offered on campus. Everyone is different and they will explore, but it will be at their own pace. I think it’s helpful to set a ‘get-to date’: Get to X date before you can schedule a home visit. I think one month is a good start. It seems long, and at times it will feel really really long for both of you, but it’s important.” ~Kim Bicknell, ‘24 Parent

“No stance at all. Without a car, we were always willing to pick him up but never pressured him to do so.” ~Scott Schweiger, ‘25 Parent

“We didn’t have a chance to limit home visits because our first year student found fun things to do on campus most weekends.” ~Beth Marchese, ‘26 Parent

A mother and daughter look at each other smiling.

How did you support your student through illness and/or mental health needs?

“My daughter has severe anxiety, depression and ADHD. For mental health, she had her meds (locked in a secured trunk), she met with her docs over the phone every month. We transferred her IEP/504 to a college 504. We went to the Office of Accessibility Services together to meet them and ensure she knew where there were safe spaces if needed. We were open about her illness, her AA and roommate knew so in case of a panic attack, people were aware. More importantly, I had her sign a legal medical proxy form (at 18 she is a legal adult) that gave me full access to her medical records and ability to talk to docs if there was an issue. We also signed a form with the Bursar’s office to give me access to her grades, etc so I could see if there were issues. Lastly, we signed a form at the Wellness Center also providing me access to her medical records for her college time. There were times I had to call the Office of Accessibility Services and email her advisor on her behalf but she learned to do it herself. She just needed the starting guidance.  Her junior year we found a therapist who did virtual appointments which was great!” ~Beth Kaniewski-Moller, ‘24 Parent

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Story compiled by: Connor Bicknell, senior communication studies major

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