This is the second of two posts with thoughts about the New Year for you and your college student. Our previous post offered some suggestions for you to share with your student. This post offers something for parents.
This is the time of year for reflection, and it is often a hopeful time of year. The start of a new calendar year is often a doubly new start of college students (and their parents) as they think about a new semester.
Each year at this time we offer some thoughts and suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions for parents and their college or high school students. Check out our posts from previous years for some resolutions that may be valuable this year.
We’d like to offer a slightly different way of thinking about your resolutions this year. We suggest just one resolution for parents this year — with eight different ways to carry it out.
Consider making this the year of connections. Resolve this year to work at making some new connections and improving some old relationships. The importance of new connections for students is perhaps more obvious than for parents. We know that our student is involved in a new phase of life and needs to make connections at school, but parents remain at home and our life continues. However, remembering that this is a transition point in your life as well is important. This is a new phase of life for parents as well as for their students. Recognizing that you may need to make some changes – and perhaps some new connections – will help to make this transition even easier.
Below are eight connections college parents might work on making or improving over the year. (For resolutions for students, see our previous post.)
- A current college parent – Make a connection with a college parent a few steps ahead of you. Perhaps the parent of a sophomore, junior or senior — or college freshman if your student is still in high school. Ask them about their experience. Talk to them about your journey and listen to their advice.
- A parent of a younger student – Share your experiences with the parent of a student not quite ready for college. What have you learned so far? You may be surprised at how much wisdom you already have to share.
- A mentee – One of our connection suggestions for college students was to find a mentor – someone who can give them some guidance and share some wisdom about their chosen field, or about life in general. Find someone who might benefit from what you have to share. Mentor a student other than your own.
- A new friend – Your student is working at making new friends, perhaps you could benefit from doing the same. Is there someone you might like to get to know better – perhaps a co-worker, neighbor, someone you see at the gym, church, or other activity? Reach out and make a new friend this year.
- A colleague – Is there someone in your workplace who you would like to know better? Perhaps someone new to the staff? Perhaps someone in another department? Make an effort this year to get to know one colleague better.
- A family member – Have you lost touch with someone in your family? Use this year to reconnect.
- A neighbor or community member – Is there someone new in your neighborhood or someone you see around your town but whom you haven’t gotten to know? Make this the year to connect.
- Someone “different” – We made this suggestion for your student as well. Reach out this year to get to know someone you might not interact with otherwise. Move out of your comfort zone to get to know someone with a different background, different values, different lifestyle. Find what you have in common and broaden your horizons.
As adults with established lives, we may not think of needing to make new connections, but this might be a fresh way to look at this transitional period of your life. You and your student might be able to share your experiences and reactions as you both reach out to expand your world. You’ll also be serving as a wonderful role model for your student. Make this new year the year of the “connection resolution.”