Going off to college is an exciting time for students and their parents. Students get to set out on their own, try new things, and meet new people. Parents get to brag about their sons’ and daughters’ successes – and also get that long-awaited empty nest. With that excitement may also come nervousness and new challenges. Here are some survival tips for new students and their parents:
- Know yourself – if you are feeling like you’ve taken on too much, like you don’t understand things, or you don’t like your major or your school you’re probably right. And you’re certainly not alone. advisors, instructors, RA’s, and your friends are there for you, seek out help when you need it. If you don’t know who to ask, start by seeing other students or professors can point you in the right direction.
- Understand that most of the time, your major doesn’t equate to your career. Major in something that you’re good at and that you enjoy. You’ll get better grades and enjoy college more.
- Have fun! That’s part of what college is all about. Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn about. Go on trips with your friends. Stay up too late, just not too often.
- Let your children (who are adults now) try things on their own. Allow them to talk to their professors and advisors on their own before contacting university representatives on their behalf. Remember, we learn best from doing and from making mistakes. They rely on you and you want to help – you’ll be helping the most when you teach them to find solutions on their own.
- Communicate with them. You don’t need to talk to your child 10 times a day (and shouldn’t), but you should set up regular times to catch up. Be a good listener and only give advice if they ask you for it. Don’t forget to let them know you’re thinking of them. Send a care package, letter, or even a post card when you know they’ve got an exam coming up, are going through rough times, or just because.
- Find support. A transition for your son or daughter is also a transition for you. If you need support, seek out the advice of other parents who have children in college. You’ll probably find that your experiences (and your children’s) have a lot in common with other students and parents.
- Have fun! Yes, you too!