Showing Student Support
Tip # 1:
Don’t Ask Them if They’re Homesick. A student once said, “The idea of being homesick didn’t even occur to me, with all the new things that were going on, until my mom called one of the first weekends and asked, ‘Are you homesick?’ Then it hit me.” If homesickness strikes, keep in mind that numerous programs and services exist at BGSU to assist new students throughout their first year of college.
Write (Even if They Don’t Write Back). Although new college students are typically eager to experience away-from-home independence in those first weeks, most are still anxious for family ties and the security of connection to family. Students love to receive mail. Clippings from the hometown newspaper, packages of cookies and even postcards can be shared with their new-found friends.
Tip # 3:
Expect Change. Your son or daughter will change. College and the experiences associated with it can bring about changes in many aspects of their lives, including vocational goals, personal behavior, and choices. It’s natural, inevitable and it can be inspiring. At the same time it can be challenging. While you may never understand the changes, it is within your power (and to you and your student’s advantage) to accept them. Remember that your son or daughter basically will be the same person that you brought to BGSU, even if he or she returns for Thanksgiving break with a different hairstyle, eats different foods or discusses new thoughts and ideas.
Tip # 4:
Don’t Worry (Too Much) About Stressed-Out Phone Calls or Email Messages. Parenting can be a thankless job, especially during the college years. When problems become too much for a first-year student to handle (a flunked test, ended relationship and shrunken T-shirt all in one day), one place to turn, write, or dial is home. Unfortunately, this may be the only time that the urge to communicate is felt so strongly that you never get to hear about the “A” paper, the new friend, or domestic triumph. Be patient with those “nothing-is-going-right-I-hate-this-place” phone calls, emails, or text messages. You’re providing indispensable care through your advice, while also serving as a sympathetic ear and punching bag. It sometimes can be a role that makes you feel lousy, but it works wonders for a frustrated student.
Tip # 5:
Trust Them. Finding oneself is difficult enough without feeling that the people whose opinions you respect most are second guessing your own second guessing. Though you may be skeptical of some of their choices and though they may make mistakes, your love and support will allow them to feel confident in making responsible decisions and learning from their mistakes. One of the most important things one mom ever wrote to her son in his four years at college was this: “I love you and want for you all the things that make you happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are.” Let them know that you genuinely trust them