Being a supportive parent or guardian.
From empty-nesting, to a first student going off to university, we hope that the tips below will not only make you and your student more confident in the transition.
Last minute hesitations before orientation week are normal, particularly for students who will be leaving home to live on their own for the first time. Rest-assured, our team of student life professionals will be there for your student not only in their first few days of university, but throughout their entire time with us.
Throw a send-off party. Get creative with gifts that symbolize freedom and responsibility, such as a basic cookbook, a box of laundry detergent with a roll of quarters or a keychain with money for a cab ride. This gesture will reinforce your support for your student, and the pride you have in them.
We heavily encourage you to stay in touch with your student by using technology such as Skype, Google Hangouts, email, texting, or a good old-fashioned phone call. However, don’t be alarmed if their response isn’t immediate – a new student will be busy with class work and while they begin to build a new network of friends.
Develop an adult relationship with your student. Ask them how he/she envisions your relationship with each other changing over time. As they begin to gain independence, they may go through varying degrees of change in personality, physical appearance, etc. This is completely normal, but it is important that you are there to support them at a level they are comfortable with.
Now is a good time to focus on yourself! Sign up for a class you always wanted to try, volunteer—in other words, keep busy. Before you know it the void of your student’s absence (particularly families with only one student) will be filled with interesting things you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have time to before.
Love your student enough to let them make his/her own mistakes. It’s OK if he/she struggles a bit finding his/her way in the world. For example, students in their first year of university typically see a drop in their grades, so be sure to be supportive as opposed to critical. Remember—you’ve already done the hard work of raising a smart and resourceful adult!