This will be one of the most memorable times in the life of you and your student. How you handle this transition will determine the relationship you will or will not have with your student during these life-changing college years. Be there, but remember that this is their first step to independence, so give them the opportunity to begin this process with your support, not your dictatorship. Give them the benefit of your experience without making them feel guilty, if they don’t use it. Some students will take your advice, while others will have to make the mistakes and learn the lessons. But you had to go through this, too, and you, also, made mistakes. They will need your wisdom and direction now more than ever. Balance is the key.
Below, I have listed steps that will make this transition smoother; these things helped me, as well as others, during our transitions. Enjoy this time! You won’t get a second chance.
o Pray (It’s this connection that will let you sleep at night – well, most nights).
o Do an itinerary for the trip to school.
o Make a list of all friends and family in the area (in case of emergencies).
o Introduce your student to the individuals that will be their support team while away at school (only those that desire to support).
o Locate a church and visit the church with your student.
o Introduce yourself and get the number to the Resident Assistance in the dorm, the financial aid officer and their assigned college counselor.
o Don’t hesitate to call the president’s office, if necessary.
o Be a good listener.
o Always communicate – Do not disconnect: It is critical that you remain in communication even through a challenging time.
o Remember, they are at the age of accountability. Help them to understand the responsibility that goes with freedom.
o Don’t hesitate to remind them of the things they are to do. They are balancing a lot of tasks, and will forget every now and them, but be kind.
o Give them enough space to feel independent but enough support to know you are in their corner – even when they make a mistake.
o Remember, you have lived your life! This is theirs. Help them to become their own person and most important, enjoy their transformation into adulthood!