Because he's 18, there's nothing we could do for him except direct him to the right people to help. He did go talk to all his advisers and after two days of soul-searching, withdrew from the engineering program and enrolled in "undeclared science."
He seems better since he has a more reasonable schedule, but he's still feeling bad about giving up engineering (at least for now). He is also impatient to make new friends, but he isn't homesick. I wish all this was easier for him - he feels like a failure. But I'm heartened that he didn't indulge in "magical thinking" and try to bluff his way through a program only to fail or not get the marks he needed. Plus he solved his own problem - reaching out to strangers and coming up with solutions. I'm hoping a year of just exploring and being away from home will help focus him.
I'm just as bad as he is - wanting everything to be all right so I don't have to worry. That's not a very realistic expectation, either. I'm going to see a counselor tomorrow to help me with these kinds of phone calls. (I get very anxious, because my mother was mentally ill and to inner me someone upset and crying = hospitalization/death) It's a new counselor, so I don't know what to expect - but I need to work on my own anxiety.
Any words of wisdom would be most welcome!