Sending our students off to college is rewarding but also sometimes nerve-wracking. The college years mean new opportunities and experiences for them…and new worries for us.
From the moment they arrive at college, our students are confronted with a host of choices — from whom to be friends with and how to spend their free time (even how to define “free time”) to which classes to take and what field to major in.
Some of these choices will have long-lasting implications, and while we celebrate and honor our students’ independence, we’re aware that they are still young, without a lot of “real life” experience. Becoming an adult is a process. The good news is that, even from afar, we can offer parental advice, be role models, and remain a touchpoint for our family values.
No matter where your student goes to school, or what kind of social life he had in high school, college presents new temptations.
If you discussed these issues with your student during high school, keep the conversation going. If you avoided it then, or felt it wasn’t an issue for your student, you can still bring it up now.
Keeping the lines of communication open and the conversation honest is essential. You and your student can talk about alcohol and drugs not in isolation but as part of a larger (and ongoing) discussion about other aspects of campus life — friends, activities, academics, and everyday stresses.
Our own life experiences, and the ways in which we strive to maintain balance and moderation, will be of interest to our students. They’re on their own, but they are still listening and they do want to live up to our expectations for them.
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