This month we want to hear from you. Some parents worry about the risks of alcohol use and misuse on campus. Others worry about sexual assault prevention.
- Do you talk to your student about those topics?
- Why or why not?
- What advice do you have for other parents who’d like to raise the issue with their students, but maybe don’t know how to start the conversation?
We’ll share your responses in a future newsletter for the benefit of other Michigan families!
Last time we asked - What was it like for you as a parent the first year your student went away to Michigan? Any lessons learned that you'd like to pass on to other parents?
The first week was harder for me than I expected. My student was excited to attend Michigan but the first few days took a lot of encouragement from me to take it a day at a time, or even an hour at a time. Learning bus routes, meeting professors, meeting new peers and starting an on campus part time job all fell nicely into place and my student flourished in the busy campus life after about a week of somewhat stressful adjustment. Keep encouraging new students to move through each day and soon it will feel
like home away from home.
When we left our son for the first time in August, I felt like a limb was being torn off! I was so sad and thought about him so often. Is he meeting friends? Is he having fun? Is he lonely? Little by little, those feelings dissipated as he (and we) adjusted to this new stage in our lives. My point is that you will adjust and so will your child, you just have to give it time and realize this is what we raise our kids to be... independent from us.
It helped that we set up a specific time each week to talk to him over the phone. I'm so glad we arranged this in advance because it really gave us all something to look forward to and our son does call us! I would also send a care package once a month; I think it made us both feel better! Good luck and and hang on because the year will go faster than you think it will!
Being a parent of a first year student was easier than I thought it would be largely due to the valuable student/parent orientation we attended. Although it might be expensive and challenging to negotiate travel for both parents and student to orientation, it's an investment that more than pays off for the student's successful beginning in order to thrive in their college years. Professors, grad students, and peers put much effort into connecting with incoming students and putting on a program which is informative and convincing... It also places parents and their student on the same page which facilitates a more positive and clear communication. And Michigan's hospitality is second to none! Your student will leave understanding all the opportunities that await them at Michigan, what a privilege it is to attend, and how special they are to be invited.
It was very hard because she was homesick. It was a huge adjustment for everyone.
I was very anxious in the beginning as to whether my son will be able to bear it all - the new surroundings, new friends, totally different food & all in a foreign country. I think it was quite hectic for my son in the first year. But I am happy he has managed it very well. My advice to parents is that leave it fully to your ward. Don't keep poking him/her with your nagging doubts about his/her ability to cope. Have confidence in your child. They are capable and they will do it.
Don't freak out about Bursley! If you are an alum and comparing how it was in the 70s and 80s, it's not the same.
Honestly, it was harder on us than our son. He adapted well, and exhibited a level of maturity that surprised all of us. One thing that I would recommend is to have your student call home once a week at a set time (we chose Sunday evenings). It's great to connect verbally, and provides a touchtone for us as a family.
My first year as the parent of a student living on campus was much easier then I imagined. It is OK if you don't talk to your student every day, just chill and let them have their space!!
Professors and GSIs were very accessible to our daughter. She learned a lot by taking advantage of office hours. Our daughter is not from Michigan, yet made a lot of both in state and out of state friends. Take advantage of the terrific Sweetland Writing Center.
Susan Gass, Associate Director, Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center, gave the best piece of advice at Parent Orientation: In high school it may have been the academically struggling students asking for extra help. In college, it is the students with good grades that have sought out extra help early and often. We stressed this "habit" to our freshman daughter who sought out extra help via study groups and weekly visits with professors and teaching assistants (whether she had questions or not). She has had a smooth transition to college work.
Stay connected with your ward. Transition to independence better happen over a few months. University provides wonderful opportunities, but parenting adult students is still parents’ responsibility. Michigan provides a greatly engaging environment. Enjoy the benefits of being a parent at Michigan.
Living in Atlanta and having our first child head off to college in Michigan was tough. I had always imagined her a 1.5 hour ride away where I could head up for a girl's weekend or my husband and I could be there for parents' weekend. However having lived in A2, we knew the incredible opportunity that awaited her. We have family in MI so having her home only at Christmas was hard but we knew she was in good hands. Face-timing over Sunday dinner every so often helped too. It was a definite adjustment for us all but we made it!
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