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Helping Other Students When Times Are Tough

Let’s be honest. Times can be tough and sometimes being in school is certainly no picnic. The college student’s experience can be made more difficult by a number of factors. Many would say that it is the most difficult for nontraditional students who are over the age of 24 and may already have children or others to care for. Adding that in to a busy college workload can spell disaster and stress. But other people have ‘rainy days’ as well. Here is a list of tips for how to help out a friend who is having a bad day.

1. Food

Nothing says friendship like a box of homemade cookies. If you have access to an oven, ask your friend what their favorite types of baked goods are.

2. Create a Care Package

Number 2 sort of goes hand in hand with number 1. But care packages are not just things that college students receive from their relatives. They can be gifts from other college students to fellow college students. Find out what foods your friend likes. Also consider any special interests your friend has, such as comic books or romance novels and the like. If the student has children or pets make sure to think of them when creating the care package! If your friends want to help, break it up and assign certain items to certain people or include a monetary gift in care package

3. Send A Supportive Note

Sometimes the best forms of support aren’t tangible. Offering up words of support when a fellow student is going through a bad time is sometimes worth more than food, or money. Taking the time out to show that you care is what matters the most. Remind your friend that the stormy days pass. Sometimes a simple text message or email is effective. When the situation is more serious (such as the death of a relative or friend) an actual note or card is more appropriate and certainly more tactful.

4. Offer to Do Chores

Sometimes friends help friends help friends by allowing the friend to take time off for themselves but chores and other obligations consistently get in the way. Pool together and form a group of friends that will take turns accomplishing household chores and other tasks. If the student lives in a residence hall the chores can be as simple as doing the other student’s laundry or feeding their goldfish. If it is an older student with children one suggestion would be for the friend to take the student’s children for the day so that mom and dad could have a day of peace and relaxation. Other chores can include cooking, dog walking, dishwashing, gardening, etc.

5. Just Be There and Listen

Simply being there can be one of the best things that a friend can do when times are rough. Whether it is a financial issue or a death in the family it really helps to have just one person present who is not judgmental. Sometimes just being there, being silent, and being an active listener is the best gift that you can give to a person whose world may be caving in on them. Active listening means that you simply listen without trying to formulate a response or an opinion to what the other person is saying. Active listening is one of the greatest life skills that anyone can ever learn or practice. It is also one of the most difficult to learn and apply, but so extremely important that having this skill will help you for the rest of your life.