The Power of a Thank You: New Year’s Thoughts for Parents and Students
Thanksgiving is usually the time that we think a lot about giving thanks. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the year we often let our thanks fall by the wayside – or we take for granted that others will realize we are thankful. As we begin a new calendar year, college parents and their students might find this a good time to think about some New Year’s “thank-yous”.
Each year at this time we offer some resolutions to keep in mind for the New Year. Of course, like so much of the world, we often lapse before too long. But we think it is important to give thought to new beginnings at this new calendar time, but mid-point in the academic year. Good New Year’s Resolutions are worth reviving, so we invite you to take some time to consider some of our past suggestions.
Ten Thank-yous for College Students
As parents, many of us began early to teach our children the automatic response of “thank you” when they were given something. Many college students on the job or internship hunt are reminded of the importance of a quick thank-you note following a job interview. The seeds have been planted.
There is power in a thank-you. Not only because of the message to the person being thanked, but there is power in the reminder of gratitude for what has been given. Talk to your college student about a Thank-you Resolution for 2013. Help her think of people she can thank – often. Help her think of some people she may have taken for granted or forgotten about who might appreciate a thank-you. Both your student and you may be surprised at how many people make the list. Your student may be surprised at how good saying “thank-you” makes her feel.
Each student’s list will be unique, but here are ten thoughts to get you both started.
- A high school teacher – Now that your student is in college, he may realize how much he appreciates what he learned from that special high school teacher – not necessarily the always-popular one, but the one who taught the lessons that mattered in the college classroom.
- A recommender – Perhaps someone has written an important recommendation for your student – for college, for a job, for an internship. Now might be a good time to share not only a thank-you, but an update on the results.
- An employer or supervisor– This might be someone who has provided an important opportunity or special support.
- Other family members – Have there been members of the family who have been especially helpful or supportive during this past year? Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles – anyone who has helped or simply “been there”.
- Mentor – Has someone at school or work served as either an official or unofficial mentor to your student?
- Tutor – Perhaps there is someone who has provided the tutoring that made the difference in a course – either currently or in the past.
- Key college professors – Is there someone who made the difference in or outside of the classroom? These people don’t do what they do for a thank-you, but they might appreciate hearing that they made a difference.
- Fellow students – Who helped make the semester go well? Friend, classmate, RA, Orientation Leader.
- Admissions Counselor – Your student may have been in close contact with an Admissions Counselor during that grueling admissions process. Now that a semester has past, this is a good time to thank them for helping to make this possible.
- Other college personnel – There are many people who make the college experience possible. Your student has probably encountered many of them. Some might deserve a special thank you.
Of course, this list is only a beginning. Once your student begins to consider the possibilities, the new mindset may be addictive!
Ten Thank-yous for College Parents
Students are not the only ones who could benefit from thinking about offering a New Year Thank-you to others. As college parents, we may be less aware of some of the support we’ve received as we’ve transitioned to college parents. Think about who might receive a “thank-you” from you in this new year. Here are a few get-started ideas.
- Your student
- Friends, family or other parents who were especially helpful to your student
- Mentor – Is there someone who particularly mentored your student through the college admission and transition process?
- Other parents – Who helped you most through this process?
- Other parents at your student’s school – Are there other parents who have been particularly helpful to your student? Perhaps a roommate’s parents? Perhaps a family who “adopted” your student at an event when you couldn’t be there? Perhaps a family who hosted your student for visits?
- Parent Office – Does your student’s school have a Parent Office? Have they offered help, information or advice to you?
- Financial Aid Office – The maze of financial forms and information is never easy. Has anyone in particular been especially helpful?
- Grandparents– These family members may be actively helpful or just quietly there – and proud. Don’t forget to include them.
- Your support system – Who gets you through?
- Your spouse – Don’t forget to thank each other.
These lists are clearly not exhaustive, and many of those listed here may not be relevant to you or your student. We only want to get your thinking started. Part of the fun will be in coming up with your own, personal list. Actually, the New Year’s Resolution for 2013 just comes down to one – Resolve to offer unexpected thanks (and to help your student to offer thanks) as often as possible this year.
Happy New Year!