The transition to becoming a college parent isn’t sudden. You’ve been working on it through all of those months of SAT prep, college visits, essay writing, financial aid discussions, applications, acceptances and rejections, and finally, the DECISION. But as you begin to think about the reality of your new situation, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Let’s begin by thinking about who this new college student is, and what your role in this college experience might be.
Who is this College Student?
This college student is the son or daughter you’ve raised.
First and foremost, this student heading off on this grand and scary adventure called college, is the son or daughter you raised. Although it sometimes feels as though you may not know or understand his behavior, you’ve had many years to instill important values and teach life lessons. Your student will take to college with him the tool chest of lessons, experiences and values you’ve given him. Trust him. Trust the years you’ve spent with him.
This college student has a clean slate.
There is something wonderful about the adventure of beginning college. Your student is a young man or woman with an opportunity to have a clean slate and build a new life. Many of us might welcome the opportunity to have a fresh start. Your student may have spent many years in the same area, school, or neighborhood. He is known by everyone. His family may have connections in town, he may have siblings ahead or behind him, he may be known as an excellent student, an athlete, a loner, or a class leader. There is something safe in this knowledge, but also something restricting.
At college he will have a fresh start. He can re-create himself. This can be a wonderful, and an intimidating prospect. There’s no reputation to fall back on, but there’s also no history clouding your student’s opportunities. Some students thrive on the experience of this fresh start and some are taken by surprise. As parents, it is important for us to recognize that this is a stressful time. Encourage your student to take advantage of the clean slate that he has to invent the self he wants to be.