Whether you’re a student or a parent, you’ll face a lot of changes when college begins. You don’t have to worry. These are good and exciting changes! Below are some tips for both students and parents.
- Take college as seriously as you would a job.
Attend class and show up on time. Engage in discussions. Treat your professors and classmates with respect. Know that your professors are important outside of class for knowledge, references, and life wisdom.
- Take your study skills up a notch.
Expect to have to put in significant effort outside of the classroom as well as in it. Go ahead and build study time into your schedule. It is said that for every hour in class you should spend 2 hours out of class studying. Read your syllabi carefully so that you don’t forget about tests or fall behind with readings and assignments.
- Talk out the small stuff before it becomes a bigger issue.
Preparing to live in community means preparing for the ups and the downs. If you have a conflict with your roommate, talk to him or her before it escalates into an unbearable situation. If you are struggling in a class, talk to the professor, your mentor, or the Student Development staff. For roommate issues, take advantage of the wisdom of your RAs. For class struggles, take advantage of the tutoring opportunities.
- Get involved.
Take advantage of all of the activities offered to new students. It is super easy to make friends by attending campus events or joining a club or organization. Learn about what’s going on by checking your student email and the Milligan Today webpage, and learn about what to get involved in on our website or at club Rush Day at the beginning of the year.
- Be flexible as you learn and grow.
Give yourself the freedom to discover and explore who you are and what you are called to do. It’s ok to change. Becoming self-aware should lead to change. Just be sure to stay authentic to who you were created to be.
- Encourage independence in your student.
While it might be tempting to email your student’s professor with questions or concerns, it’s important to encourage your students to handle that communication themselves and take responsibility for their own studies and obligations. You still play an important role in counseling your student, but letting them handle and decide most situations will have the most impact.
- Introduce yourself to your student’s resident assistant (RA) or resident director (RD).
RAs and RDs are the ones there to keep your student safe and to help them walk through life at school. They are very specifically chosen and people with shepherd’s hearts. Knowing your student’s residence staff will definitely be a positive move for peace of mind. RAs are also trained in CPR/first aid, conflict management, crisis training and mental and emotional issues. If your student is feeling homesick, encourage him or her to talk to the RA.
- Seek out ways to stay connected.
If you want to stay on top of what’s happening at your student’s college, request that your email address be added to the mailing list to receive college news releases and announcements. Or seek out organizations that encourage parental involvement and volunteers. You could get involved on the Parent Council or just show up for games, Family Weekend, concerts, or plays. Always talk to your student first. Their schedules get crazy so make sure they know when you are coming to visit.
- Don’t overlook your next chapter.
Go through your own season of reigniting passions and rediscovering yourself and your calling. Empty nesting can be hard if you don’t realize how exciting it is. Seek out new opportunities and cherish the old.
-Written by Abbie Russell ’21