Tuesday, September 04, 2012
I posted this as a response to someone's blog. As I was looking around I realized that many of you were posting about your kids going off to college. As a grad student I teach quite a few Freshman and thought I would tell you some of the things I have learned:
If there was any advice I could give you is: don't let him take too many credits (classes), don't sign-up for early morning courses (not for the first year), while talking on the phone listen to the little things - meaning if he says that a professor is mean or that he's hanging out with a girl a lot...there's always more to it than what he's telling you.
Often mean professor usually means the class isn't going well. Nothing you can do about the teacher, it's all on the student. Tell them to get into their professors office hours!! If a teacher see's that they are REALLY trying and are coming for help - they will get help! Can't make it to office hours? E-mail and talk to them directly after class. Mom, Dad, you can't talk to the teacher (mostly due to legal reasons) - your child must.
Do you remember your first real girlfriend or boyfriend? How much time did you spend away from them? Answer - as little as possible!! They may only mention them to you but will be skipping class to be with them. What's worse? Breaking-up. Listen to them and take the little things into mind.
There are so many times students will come in for lessons (I teach music) and before playing the first note they fall into tears. During the Freshman years there are many lessons where not a note is played and it's more like a therapy session. Top issues on the list?
1- relationships (both romantic and friendship)
2- Struggling with demands of college work - it is MUCH harder than high school and they expect you to already know how to study, take notes, and write well. It may be difficult for your child to admit that school is hard.
3- money (they want it and spend it faster than they can get it). Talk about budgeting money and be realistic - they will not be creating a savings account or nest egg. Clothes, food, going out, etc... talk about it and keep it controlled!
4- Homesick! And they will NEVER admit it to you! (well, maybe)
You can only be there to listen for most of it. However, a couple months in, send a care package to remind them that you love them, you are there for them, and that they can always come home! No matter how much they don't want to - talk to them. At least a few times a week...or more.