We, the Student Life staff, are here to help your student develop into a responsible, healthy adult. The parenting role is still solely up to you. This is how we can work together…
These are the ways we help your student:
- We provide opportunities for students to achieve competence in academic and non-academic areas
- We challenge them while also providing support
- We teach them how to manage emotions, from anger to self-esteem and everything in between
- We help them become autonomous so that they are no longer dependent but rather, interdependent on others
- We encourage them to determine who they really are, on many levels
- We offer assistance as they develop their values and figure out what they stand for
- We support the development of positive relationships, including those with family, friends, partners, and diverse individuals
- We help students identify and pursue their purpose
We are student advocates, which means…
- We make ourselves very available to students during “office hours” and beyond
- We welcome students coming to us with a problem
- We treat students as adults, getting them involved in solving their own problems instead of relying upon others to do it for them
- We intervene if we become aware of a potentially life-threatening behavior occurring
- We respect students' privacy yet we don't always promise confidentiality—after all, we may need to get others involved in order to ensure their well-being
- We don't serve as “babysitters” for students
- We are concerned with students' safety and educate them on ways to keep themselves and others safe
- We don't ever want to see a student get hurt
- We expect students to take responsibility for their own actions
- We are here to support students
You can help your student flourish by helping them learn from their mistakes and experience triumphs and successes. You can do this by:
- Taking students emotional issues seriously by encouraging your student to talk with a counselor, a Residence Life staff member, an advisor, or a campus minister
- Tout the benefits of a good night's sleep
- Send healthy snacks, not junk food
- Encourage community service and engagement
- Suggest ways to include physical activity within their schedule
- Regularly ask what he or she is learning
- Not always focus on grades, talk about class content instead
- Ask him or her to discuss class projects and papers with you
- Encourage him or her to seek some assistance from a tutor, advisor, faculty member or academic support services if she's having trouble—it's not a sign of weakness!
- Encourage him or her to get involved in academic life through extra credit, participating in class and asking questions
- Help him or her figure out creative ways to balance work, social life, activities, and classes
- Take an interest in what your student is learning and how he or she is learning it
- Be a role model. Your student will look to you for an example. He or she will treat people a certain way and believe things about certain groups, quite possibly as a result of your example.
- Be open to diversity. Chances are that your student will be positively challenged by the new people he or she encounters on campus. Encourage them to open their eyes and take in the experience…a student who is open to diversity will experience the world much differently than one who is not.
- Contribute to the community. Community involvement means different things for different people. If your child sees you helping others and getting involved, they will be more likely to get involved on campus and in the community.
- They'll always need you…allow your relationship to change. This doesn't mean you'll be left behind. Allowing your relationship to evolve as your student dives into the college world requires compromise, flexibility, and trust. With these tools at your side, the college transition can be a wonderful, eye-opening experience for all.
Help your student “find their place” at college…encourage them to:
- Reach out to others. Reaching out to someone else who may be struggling with the belonging thing, too, may help you find a new friend. You'll be able to help each other navigate this new environment.
- Stick your neck out. Start by saying “hi” to a perfect stranger. Progress to talking to that guy in your Lit. class. Put yourself out there.
- Find common ground. Check with an organization you're interested in. Go to that student newspaper info meeting or give student activities a try. Find some folks who you have things in common with.
- Seek connections. Ask a few people to go to lunch. Talk with someone when you're standing in line at the bookstore.
- Stay true to yourself. You don't need to impress others or put on an act. Just be yourself. There are enough different people on a college campus that you'll find those with whom you click.
- Search out people who will challenge you to be better, seek out a good support system, seek out positive influences, and search out genuine friends.
Additionally, you can encourage your student to “be real” and avoid giving into peer pressure.
It is important to stay true to you who are, and at college, you can get in even better touch with your values and beliefs! Encourage your student to do this by:
- Serving others—doing community service and giving your time is a value that will last a lifetime.
- Make time to worship—keep up this practice if it means a lot to you.
- Treat others well—don't make others the butt of jokes just to “fit in.”
- Decide about drinking—if you've made the decision to abstain or to drink responsibly, don't let others sway you.
- Say “no”—whether its experimenting with drugs, doing something illegal, or going farther sexually than you'd like to go, remember you can and should say no.
- Ask yourself when you make a decision: Would I want my friends and family to know that I made this decision? Will this decision do anyone harm? Will it do me harm? How will this decision impact me in the long-term? How would I feel if this decision was publicized? Am I proud of this decision?