November 3, 2017
Ive been having a really rough semester mentally, financially, socially...you name it. My dad calls me about once a week to check-in and I really don't know how to tell him Im not doing ok. I know he'd be worried about me and everyone expects me to be having such a great time away at school. Any advice on how to handle this? Is it ok to lie to him?
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough semester, but just know that every student goes through rough patches during their college careers. Judging from the fact that your dad calls every week, it is obvious that he cares about you and your feelings, happenings, etc. Because of this, I think there is no reason to be ashamed or scared of telling him what you’re going through. You might even find that he has good suggestions or that just by talking about everything you start to feel better!
I do not think it would be best to lie to your dad- it may be tempting to brush things off and make the phone call go smoothly, but ultimately your dad wants to/should hear the truth. Since he is calling around once a week, he is showing that he is there for you, and you should not feel the need to tell him the things you think he wants to hear. I know that the expectation of "always having a great time in college" can be daunting, and it can feel as though everyone else is having a great time. You are not alone, but if you contain it to yourself it can certainly feel that way. I think it would help to also discuss what you are going through with other people as well, be it your friends in college, friends back in your hometown, other family members, etc.
It is very considerate of you to care for your dad and not make him worried, but the conversation with him will help a lot, and your dad can give you great words of advice. I was afraid to show my struggles with my parents as well, but I have since realized that it is very comforting to share what I am going through with them, since they give me encouraging words and helpful tips on making my time here better. My relationship with my parents have deepened because of this. Your dad cares about you, and he would be grateful to hear the truth.
College is amazing, but it certainly does have its bumps. I'm sorry things are not going too smooth for you right now, but things will get better! I am a senior at Cal and I've been through a situation similar to yours. My first semester here was rough. By rough, I meant really rough. I hated going to classes and I wanted to stay in my room all the time. Balancing my social life while helping my parents pay off tuition was an entirely different story! Even now, I find myself encountering obstacles all the time. Personally, I would be very honest with my parents. My parents are like your dad. They will call me every other day to check on how I am doing. They will ask me if I need anything or if they could help me with something. Because I don't like my parents worrying about my well-being when they can use that time and effort to care for their themselves, I tell them everything is going just fine. I understand where you're coming from, but be open with your parents. They least they could do is provide you with some advice and even some help financially. Family seems to always make things better for me. :) If you are having a rough semester mentally, please reach out to friends and anyone who is willing to talk! In fact, you can reach out to me and I'd be happy to grab coffee, food, snacks, anything! Try taking some time for yourself, too. Go to the gym and work out or head to the grocery market to pick up some delicious finds and cook yourself up something good. Something that helps me to relax is painting, maybe you can give that a go?
Best of luck!