Students Back to Campus; Parents with Empty Nest

Ah, yes. It's that time again. The holidays are over; we're writing the wrong year on every piece of paper; the air is brisk (at least here in Philadelphia); and, campus is buzzing with students. 

What's that, you say? Your campus is eerily quiet (or maybe peaceful) when empty, yet so alive and bustling when students are there? That's probably the same thought your student's parents have, but flipped. As students head back to campus, it's time to remember that college is a transition for everyone. 

What's it like to be a parent with students headed of to college? 

 

  • As students come back to campus, remember to put yourself in their parent's shoes when communicating. Sending their kids back to college after a winter break can be one of a parent's most emotional times, and especially if it's their oldest or youngest student.
  • Sending kids off to college is quite an experience that ranks up there with other major family events. This is important to remember for all families, but especially if the spring semester is their first. It's important to keep in mind that parents might be waiting for the college student to emerge, which can be not a natural process. Parents may need to sit on the sidelines and watch for the first time in their lives.  
  • Students may be thrilled (or worried) to be back on campus, but their parents just spent the last few weeks living with them. Sure, the relief may feel nice, but it's a new adjustment all over again. 
  • They've probably had a few of those 'I'm not a kid anymore' conversations', in tandem with questions of internships, careers, ...and grades. This could include simply summer work or landing a 'real job' after college - as well as (hopefully good!) conversations about grades. 
  • Parents might have sleepless nights, after they've gotten used to their kids in the house but now gone again. Those kids they raised for many years might not be at home any more, but they're certainly top on their minds.  

Use these reminders to help inform your communication strategy as the 2017 year begins!