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Build a good social support network

A seasoned psychologist shares advice on finding your feet as you prepare to live on your own terms

education Updated: Jul 07, 2010 10:09 IST

What advice would you have for kids living away from home for the first time as they enter college?
Remember that you are out of your hometown for a purpose, which is to acquire a good education to have a better and fulfilling future.

While away from home, maintain constant touch with family members and try and build a good social support network around you.

Keep focused and find ways of exploring your new environment to better adjust to it.

How should they deal with sharing spaces with strangers, some of whom might have irksome habits, such as smokers (or non-smokers)?
Keep in mind that you cannot change the habits of others. Most individuals are nevertheless amenable to logic and requesting them politely to not engage in activities like smoking in the room helps.

Being understanding and requesting rather than commanding would go a long way. Give each other enough time to adjust to each other and get used to the ways of living and habits.

What are some techniques to resolve conflicts likely to arise while sharing living spaces with one or two other students who might be from vastly different backgrounds?
Rather than engaging in conflicts directly being polite and giving each other some time and space is required. In case some conflict does arise, take a step back and think things through before responding.

Rather than being impulsive, be patient. Take into consideration all possibilities and then make the most prudent choice.

What are some techniques to deal with homesickness?
Maintain constant contact with friends and family. Find ways of keeping yourself busy in the new setting. Develop a network of friends and explore the new surroundings.

Some techniques to deal with the responsibility of managing finances.
Keep a track of the finances at your disposal.

Try to manage your affairs within your means. There would be days when you would go beyond your budget but remember that you can compensate for it on subsequent days.

Samir Parikh is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare