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My college freshman daughter is not really loving the small campus environment of her school – she is considering transferring to another university. Any suggestions on how I can help her?


It’s very important anytime we’re considering changing our circumstance (different college, different job, different house, etc), especially when we’re not feeling happy with the current circumstance, is to examine the thoughts driving our feelings and desire to change.

So in this situation really dig into the why behind her desire to transfer.  Try to get to the root thought behind each reason – a simple strategy is to use the “five why’s method” for each reason.  She says, I want a larger school.  You ask, “Why?”  She says ___, you ask some version of “Why is that important?” or “So what?”  She answers ___, then you ask why/so what again.  You keep digging deeper until you’ve asked why/so what five times – making sure she doesn’t answer the same way each time, but is going deeper.   I find the technique super helpful for identifying the root thought, and that’s important because our thoughts are always what determine our experience of a situation, not the circumstance itself.  Does that make sense?

Also, practically speaking, I find it helpful to write down all the criteria for your decision (in this situation, elements you’re looking for in a university – for example, reasonable cost, good chemistry program, etc), then compare each university against each piece of criteria, rating them in a decision matrix. With decisions between different options, criteria is very often your friend.