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Leaving Home For The University Helps Adolescents MatureBy Zulkiple Ibrahim, Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 (Bernama) -- This is the time of year - between the end of May and early June - when students begin to register for their respective diploma-level courses at a local public university that has branch campuses in all states across the nation.
From June 2 onwards, a large number of students from rural villages will leave the comfort of their homes and parents for the first time and go to a place where they will face an assortment of issues, including feeling homesick.
However, this is a stage that all students leaving for the university have to face in their pursuit of tertiary education, and is an integral part of achieving maturity, believes Amin Iskandar, a lecturer in Human Science.
"The first year in a university should be regarded as a transitional period of separation rather an abrupt ending of all contact with home," he told this writer here.
"It is all right to feel attached to your family. It is okay to think about home when you are away from home (when a student is staying in a residential college at a university) and to seek out your parents when you feel stressed out or overwhelmed," he said, referring to first-year university students who become homesick.
"During the first years of university life, it is psychologically healthy to be interdependent on parents and siblings, because it helps young adults to become more mature, loving and self-confident.
"Healthy parental bonding helps adolescents in their transition to becoming independent.
"Students feel closer to their families after they leave home, and these closer ties promote greater independence and sense of responsibility.
Students who have a secure base at home are more likely to have an easier time finding new friends, achieving good academic grades and feeling more satisfied with life in the university," Amin explained.
Amin stated that when homesick undergraduates make telephone calls or come home on vacations, they are more likely to express their affection towards their family members and communicate in an open and honest manner about how well they are coping with university life.
He said that when these young people face problems or have to take important decisions, they look to their parents for support and confidence.
"These behaviours do not endanger their autonomy and independence," Amin pointed out.
According to Amin, undergraduates who have a harmonious relationship with their parents experience a sense of psychological well being.
"They believe that their parents want them to be independent, and at the same time, they feel assured that their parents will be available if they need help.
"On the other hand, students who feel lonely and unsupported by their family will usually lack confidence and are also likely to be unassertive in the presence of others.
"They may have problems separating from their parents and find it difficult to form close relationships with others in the university," the lecturer noted.
He continued that for most adolescents, leaving home was a smooth process.
"Only about 20 per cent of adolescents have some major problems with the process of growing up and becoming independent," he remarked.
LEAVING HOME FOR THE UNIVERSITY
"My elder brother left home in May 2010 to attend a degree course at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Sri Iskandar, Perak.
"He went to a new town, a university, and he stays in the hostel; he has to do everything, right from washing his clothes and making his bed to finding his own food.
"From him, I learnt that the first year of university life is not only about going away for further studies but also about leaving home," explained Zaidatul Azreen, who recently completed her first year in a diploma course at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) campus in Seri Iskandar.
According to Amin, leaving home for the university is one of the last major steps for a person in the process of separating from the family and becoming independent.
"Many young people feel the pressure to distance themselves from their parents. I feel that parents and adolescents need not be afraid of close child-parent bonding," he added.
"If you are a parent, be available for them when they seek you out for support or consolation," Amin advised.
He also asked parents to allow their undergraduate children sufficient space and time to prepare for and adjust to the requirements of the new life and new environments in the university.
According to Amin, one of the most helpful things that parents can tell their adolescents at the time of bidding them good-bye is something along the lines of "Take good care of yourself - even better than how we took care of you."
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