By ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU PR Student Assistant
Being a parent of a college student has its challenges. One of them can be the first meeting after students have been attending college for a few months and living away from home. No one knows what to expect when a parent first sees their student after a few weeks or months apart from home.
Are they the still dependent on mom and dad?
Have they changed so much that they don’t even resemble who they used to be?
Will they be embarrassed of being seen with their parents?
There is no rule book on what to do or what to expect when you haven’t seen your college son/daughter for a period of time. College introduces students to new experiences and opportunities. A lot of students realize that they have to start looking after themselves and have to start doing chores they never had to do; like laundry.
Your first reunion is highly encouraged. But be ready to expect changes in students. It is important to acknowledge growth and improvement. Be encouraging and supportive. Be sensitive but straightforward on criticism. It is important to have fun in your first reunion and not constantly argue on how or what they should do.
Try to meet some of your students’ friends and try to learn about their college life. Most college students are eager to see their parents. Also try to ask them what they need. College students are constantly hungry and it is useful to have snacks and food available; make sure they have a good supply.
Some parents might also learn that their students have a life that they are no longer a part of. College students often hang out late with their friends. They might not do it during family weekend or whenever your first reunion happens. However, it is better to expect it just in case you were planning on spending an entire evening together.
The most important factor to remember is that students will change. Not all students might make their own meals or wash their clothes as frequently as they should. However, students’ first few months and their first year at college will change their behavior and that change is maturity. They have been living their own experiences and making their own decisions where the outcomes range from performing beyond their own expectations to screwing up. They all add up to learning experiences.
Parents will now not always be part of the decision making but rather witness it. All the small changes college student go through in their short time in college will be apparent all at once in your first reunion. Just remember, you’re still their parent. Their love has transitioned with their new life as a college student.