Hello, CBA parents! It is hard to believe we are just days away from the start of the semester. Some of you may have sent a child to college already, but for others of you, the big transition into a new chapter is almost at hand. I remember vividly taking both of my sons to college. I was happy, sad, afraid, thrilled – all at the same time. As far as your child goes, let me assure you our staff are ready to help his/her next chapter start, as well, and to ease their apprehensions.
There was a beautiful opinion piece in today's Washington Post about taking your first child to college. When I read it I immediately thought of all of you who are about to do the same thing. (Be careful, you might cry).
Here are a few tips about the college drop-off that I have collected over the years, and that were meaningful to me.
Remember it's their college life. While it is easy to get wrapped up in a stroll down memory lane and want to relive some of your experiences, let your student find his/her own experiences in his or her own time.
Don't pass judgment. It takes all kinds to make the world work, and living independently includes making your own judgments and assessments. Be supportive and neutral about your student's encounters.
Let your student do the talking. Your student is about to be flooded with new names, places and other things to remember. It is his/her responsibility to create a system for keeping it all straight. Take a moment and allow your student to make his/her own decisions and start a new chapter on his/her own terms.
Prepare for not being completely prepared. The lists and sticky notes cannot prepare you for every circumstance. Think about building in some extra time to make a run to the store for a few essentials you may have overlooked. A few extra hours of unscheduled time will be quickly absorbed in the rush of the day.
Goodbyes like Goldilocks and the three bears – just right. Show your honest emotions; it is part of being a parent who loves your child. Kids expect you to feel something, just make sure it fits your relationship. If it helps, have the big goodbye before you leave home where you can have your moment together somewhere a little more quiet.
Be proud. Take a second look – maybe after your student has turned away. This is one of your crowning moments as a parent. You are allowed a couple of tears, right?
The doors of CBA communication are open, and I welcome your messages any time. I hope to see you Friday at the CBA Back to School Bash – CBA west lawn, 4-6 p.m. Here's to the start of something great.
--Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean