Freshmen in Literary Tradition I are leaving behind the shifty, crafty Odysseus for the more solid, pious, dutiful Aeneas as he leaves burning Troy and heads off to found Rome. It’s a fascinating text about duty and sacrifice, but also about founding a new city and empire … and the costs of doing so. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, and CompSci majors are deep into significant materials, and may face a big test before the Thanksgiving holidays. Sophomores in Irving are pushing through more of the Core and making plans for Rome, while the Fall Romers just finished the Northern Italy trip to Florence and Venice. Juniors are deep into the upper-division classes in their major (in my field, English, those Junior Poet panels are beginning, testing the young majors to their limits). Soccer and volleyball have wrapped up, and basketball is beginning its season.
Students right now are registering for next semester’s classes. There are Core classes, classes in the major, and electives. Encourage your students to spend significant time with their faculty advisers, ask upperclassmen about favorite classes and professors, and if your student is considering going to Rome, to select the right classes for that (which involves taking some classes and not taking others that are specifically reserved for Rome).
The semester is building toward its end: papers and exams are starting to be more insistent and important as students build toward finals. Stress is starting to ramp up. Thanksgiving will provide a nice break (see below), but only a temporary one, for after it there is a rush of final classes and we are into exams. Expect your sons and daughters to be showing signs of stress; a good bit of this is normal, and your listening, support, and understanding can be key here. Encourage them to self-advocate: Encourage them to reach out — to professors, to their RAs, to the Academic Success office — for additional help, tutoring, and perspective. But if things look like they are reaching a tipping point and becoming unhealthy, encourage your students to seek help at the UD Counseling Center. It’s easy to set up a free appointment here at this link.