Is it as hard for you as it is for me to believe that we are just a month into the school year? When I think back to August 22, and the joy of that first day, it already feels long ago. We are now nicely into the rhythm of the year. Fun has been had at mixers. Assessments are beginning. The Freshman Dance days have happened. Athletic teams are forming. Senior service has begun.
I love this time, the transition from the new and unknown to the comfortable and familiar. What also begins to happen around now is that your daughter or you may begin to have some uncertainty emerging about some element of her life here at Ursuline: a class that feels difficult, a friendship that is changing, a realization of the finite number of hours in the day and how it feels when you stay up a little too late.
As you know, we are all quite taken with Lisa Damour, the author and psychologist who has devoted her professional life to understanding and supporting adolescent girls and the families and teachers who love them. In chapter two of her most recent book, Under Pressure, Dr. Damour articulates a strategy she uses with her clients in which she describes the three categories that the “stuff of life” can be divided into: “things we like, things we handle, and things that constitute a crisis.” Dr. Damour goes on to acknowledge that, “anyone who spends time with young people knows that when children and teenagers become upset, they can forget about that middle category.”
If this feels familiar to you, know that you are not alone! I shared this idea with our students during orientation days in August and encouraged them to try and ask themselves if something bothering them is really something that just needs to be handled. Now, this does not mean handling it without support, but it can help to put a challenge into perspective to acknowledge that the problem in that moment is not a crisis.
Fortunately, here at Ursuline, your daughters and you have a team of people ready to support a student through something she needs to handle or even, and hopefully rarely, a crisis. Personal and college counselors, advisors, grade-level deans, coaches, administrators, teachers, and department chairs are here to answer your questions and help you or your daughter. We welcome outreach and will always help you navigate to the person best suited to assist. I love this about Ursuline.
I look forward to seeing this year unfold and sharing all that is ahead of us with your daughters. Your families are in my prayers.
Dr. Andrea Shurley