College: What Parents Should Know
Anyone who knows me will say I’m an overprotective, helicopter parent. While I beg to differ (of course), that first semester my daughter was at college was a scary one for me. I just couldn’t get used to the idea that she was out in the world ALONE! And every sad phone call would send me into another tizzy. Happy to say we BOTH made it through that up-and-down first semester and she ended up loving her choice of school. I asked my interns, Molly Mann and Hannah Liistro, for their advice to parents and it was spot on (oh, and make them promise they won’t drink the Jungle Juice):
- Of course, safety is your number one concern. Going to school in Hartford and Boston, two big cities, we’ve always felt that our colleges have provided a safe environment. College campuses have practices and programs to make sure that students are safe. Friends look out for one another, late night shuttles are available for transportation so students don’t have to walk, and campus police are always present. Here’s a list of six safety apps for college students.
- If your child is unhappy their first semester on campus, don’t fret! This doesn’t mean that they chose the wrong school; they are simply having a normal transition to college. Adjusting to a new environment isn’t easy for anyone. Counsel your child to get involved in on-campus activities, or perhaps join a sorority or fraternity to help them make new friends and feel a part of the school.
- Don’t worry about losing touch with your child as they transition to living away from home. If they are not in constant contact, it’s okay — they’re adjusting to their new life. Keep in mind that “no news is good news”; while your child is there to learn, they are also busy making news friends, managing their time, and participating in campus activities. Remember to enjoy your newfound free time while your kid is trying to figure things out on their own. You still have a life, too!
- We know it’s unrealistic for you to resist the urge to text, SnapChat, Facebook message, Instagram, and FaceTime your child every couple of hours. However, one way to still be in touch (and show your child that you didn’t forget about them) is to send care packages filled with their favorite treats. During our first semester, we loved getting surprise mail from our parents. It was a simple way to remind us that our parents are always there when we need them.
- It’s no surprise that, as of September, your child will have significantly more freedom now that they are not living at home. We know it’s been a couple of years, but you were once a student; you are fully aware of the alcohol and parties that exist on campus. With this, our advice is to empower your child to know that they have your trust to make smart, safe decisions. It may take some time, but your child will discover how to balance social activities and academics.
- In all, be patient. Remember this is a transition for both of you and that children in college do not become “college students” overnight. A large part of the next four years for your child is learning who he or she is. It’s the first time they are truly allowed to make their own decisions. It’s happening, whether you like it or not, so get ready for them to start this new, exciting chapter!
by Molly Mann & Hannah Liistro