In our next two posts, we have some thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions for college parents and for college students. This post offers something for college parents to share with their college students. Our next post offers some resolution thinking for college parents.
This is the time of year for reflection. It is often a hopeful time of year. As the calendar year ends, many of us spend some time thinking about the past year and making some plans and resolutions for the new year. The start of a new calendar year is often also a doubly new start for college students who will start a new semester. This is an excellent time for parents and students together to think about how to make this next semester, and next year, even better than the past one.
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. For some specific suggestions on resolutions check out these two posts:
Last year, in stead of offering specific resolutions, we suggested some characteristics of good resolutions in general. As you think about your own resolutions, consider there following post:
We’d like to offer a different way of thinking about your resolutions this year. We suggest just one resolution this year — with ten different ways to carry it out for you — and for your student.
Consider making this the year of connections. Resolve this year to work at making some new connections and improving some old relationships. Below are ten connections college students might work on making or improving over the year. We hope that you will share these with the college student in your life.
(For resolutions for parents, see our next post.)
Connections for college students:
- A Professor: Choose one professor that you’ve either had for class or whose work you respect and stop by his office to get to know him. Reach out to him for help, advice, or just friendship. Take advantage of the wisdom available on a college campus beyond the classroom.
- Your Advisor: At most colleges, students are assigned an academic advisor. This may be a professional staff person or a faculty member. Some students take full advantage of what an advisor might offer, and other students barely know their advisor. Take time to get to know your advisor, listen to what she tells you (beyond course selection) and make use of her advice.
- A Mentor: In addition to your faculty members and advisor, seek out someone who might be willing to mentor you. This may be someone at your school, or may be a professional or a family friend. Find someone who has some experience and is willing to share that with you. Take advantage of any support and guidance available.
- A College Staff Member: In addition to college faculty members, there are often many staff members who are available for help, or just a connection. Think of someone at your school that you may have overlooked before. Even if you only say hello in passing, make a new connection at school. Think about professional staff, office staff, housekeeping, mailroom clerk, food worker. This may not only be helpful, but will also make you feel good about acknowledging someone who may often be overlooked.
- A Family Member: Is there a family member with whom you’ve lost contact? This is a good time to reconnect. When you’re at college and starting out in a career, it’s nice to know you’ve got a broad base of family behind you.
- A Younger Student (mentee): Just as it is important for you to find a mentor, think about someone for whom you might be a mentor. This might be a younger college student, or a high school student who will be heading to college next year and who might appreciate advice and support. Pass along the lessons you’ve learned.
- A Professional: Find someone in your chosen field and make a connection. This might begin as simple as finding someone for an informational interview. Contact someone in your field and ask if he will talk to you about his job, what he does, how he got there, what he likes and dislikes.
- A Lifestyle Role Model: Think of someone whose lifestyle you admire or whose work ethic or community spirit inspires you. Try to make a connection and talk to the person about what she does beyond her professional life. Ask for advice and think about changes you might need to incorporate into your life to reach your goals.
- Someone Different: One of the advantages of going to college is often that you have the chance to be exposed to many different types of people: people from different backgrounds, countries, religions, philosophies and lifestyles. Resolve to connect with someone different from you. You may or may not agree with this person’s thinking, but get to know him and try to understand him. You’ll expand your thinking — and may be surprised that you make a new friend.
College parents, we hope you’ll share these resolutions with your college student. Help him find the fresh start in the new year.