Before going away to school, your student is feeling a number of emotions – apprehension, excitement, joy, fear and even though they don’t want to admit it … homesickness. It’s a different time, and they won’t be able to walk into the next room, sit down and have a conversation. This is the time they will learn more about themselves, other people and how the world works (kind of). Here are a few things they should know before they head into their new adventure:
- Everyone is not friend material
This applies in everyday life, but even more so once they get to college. Although they will be trying to make new friends, they must pay attention to the red flags. There will be students who want to latch on to them for a number of reasons that could include getting their work done, borrowing clothes, books or even money. The goal is to see the best in people, but they must put their best interests FIRST.
- Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should
The mere thought of being able to be on their own can be very exciting. They will be interacting with a lot of different people and student, and there will be situations where they must use their best judgment and do the right thing. Even if they don’t ever think it will happen to them, they should be prepared (that means listen to the voice of reason, or your parents in your head).
- Know how much they are paying for credits
Some students get lazy and feel they can just drop a class or fail and take it over. It’s time for them to consider the costs of those classes. If they had to work for that money would they be so quick to do that? Discuss the boundaries of dropping classes and consequences if they start taking things a little too lightly.
- Understand college is part of their job
Your student needs to consider their college years as a job of sorts. When they excel, they reap the benefits of accolades, moving to the next level, and hopefully getting a great internship and job in the end. There will be many social activities that can take their attention away from why they are there, but they must realize work comes first, and playtime can follow.
- Get help when they need it
Their college tuition provides access to a number of free resources. That includes tutors, instructional labs and more. They should take advantage of as much as they can to help make things easier. The only help they won’t get is the help they don’t ask for.
- Call home
College will keep them busy, but not so busy that they can’t take the time to call and say hello. Outline your expectations before they leave so everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication.
- Have fun
College flies by quickly. It’s important to have fun during that time and savor the moments and friends they meet along the way. This is a time of growth and opportunity, so they should take advantage of as much as they can.
Finally, your student should know that dropping them off to school can be very emotional on both ends. If you want to take them to dinner, make the bed and any of that sappy parent stuff (we all go through it), they should let you without hesitation. And you should know that your student will feel the loneliness set in eventually – and you’ll be prepared for that phone call. 😊