Some timeless advice for parents of new and old students alike.
From the students:1) How do you want to stay connected with your parents via phone, text, mail, and visits? How often?
My mom and I usually talk on the phone once a day for about 5-10 minutes, but we are probably closer than some other pairs! We established beforehand that this would be the general communication plan (very informally), and I think that's important so neither parent nor student gets let down. Other than Family Weekend, my family is too far away to visit - but I knew that would be the case coming to Hendrix from so far away.
2) What do you want your parents to ask about? What is off-limits?
Especially at first, I think it's important to keep it as open-ended as possible --"How was your day?" and "How are your classes going?" Since freshmen are still figuring out the little things for themselves, forget about trying to explain everything to them. I think the key is for students to accept that their parents will want to ask questions, and for parents to accept that their students may be overwhelmed with new experiences that are hard to describe "if you weren't there...."
3) What advice has your parent given you that has been helpful?
4) What was the hardest part about starting college?
The fear I wouldn't make any friends, as I didn't know anyone else coming into the freshman class. Absolutely unfounded fear - Hendrix is such a welcoming community. As cliché as it sounds, I did great just being myself.
From the parents:
1) What advice have you given your student to deal with issues like homesickness, roommate troubles, class troubles, general anxiety, etc.?
2) What has been the hardest part about your student starting college?
I think that is hard is worrying about how they are handling the hard things that have come their way. But Hendrix does such a great job of giving the students resources and helping them adjust. We have so much faith and confidence in what they are doing at Hendrix that it has been a huge relief!
3) What other advice would you give to parents?
Don't be hurt or upset if your child is not in constant contact. Be happy for them that they are busy and involved. Give them some space and realize that you have done your job right. Your child is independent and able to function without checking in with you all the time! While it might make you sad that you are no longer the center of their universe, it is a good thing. They are growing up and able to function in the real world!
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