Welcome to the College Parent Support Network. I hope that you’ll find these messages to be useful to you as your son or daughter embarks on their college journey. The messages will be released on this website on a weekly basis every Monday.
I would like to introduce myself. I am a professor at a major university. I have taught for 44 years. Over my career, I have taught more students than any other professor in the history of my university. I regularly teach over 1000 freshman students a year. When I’m not in class, I’m meeting with students helping them through the issues that students face. MTV could film a reality TV show in the office, and everyday could be a fascinating program.
Each message will have a theme. The themes will be timed to coincide with the typical moments in a freshman students’ college experience. Often parents will tell me that the messages were so timely that is was like I was reading their mind.
I believe that involved parents are vital to a student’s academic success. Involvement in college is different from involvement in high school. Students need to grow up. They shouldn’t need nagging to get their work done. But they still need your regular and specific oversight on how they are doing.
In addition to these messages, I invite you to use our hotline to ask questions of how to handle a situation involving your student’s college experiences. While I can’t answer specific questions about a campus situation, I can give you advice on more general issues involving the college experience. Also if you just want to share a thought from reading a message, I would enjoy hearing from you. Let me share with you an email from a parent after receiving the last email in May of her student’s freshman year.
“I miss your Monday morning message, I know it has only been one week since the last one but I looked forward to them. Every Monday morning I would read your messages and drink my cup of coffee. It made my Mondays bearable. I think this is a wonderful thing you do. First time parents of college students are just a bundle of nerves. Hoping and praying that their child makes the right decisions and does not get influenced by the wrong doings of others. I want to thank you for getting us involved. I felt like I was right there with my son, that I actually knew what was going on and what to expect. You even gave us sample questions that we should be asking them at different times throughout the year.”
Each message will end with the story of a current or past student. I use these stories to make a point. I have found the stories have a more lasting impact than anything else I can do.
When my daughter was young, we had a lot of children in our neighborhood. Often I would see parents try to teach their children how to ride a bike without the training wheels. Parents were really struggling with this. They would hold on to their child and when they were ready to let go they just couldn’t do it. They just didn’t want to see their child get hurt, but they were also keeping them from learning how to ride a bike.
One little girl, Suzanne, was really struggling. I would often take kids to the Coliseum to ride and when we go there, the other kids would take off and poor Suzanne was left behind. I walked 20 feet in front of her and told her she had to ride to me. After a little bit of struggle she did it. Then I moved off 50 feet. She did that also. By this time, she had developed the confidence to go on her own. When the other kids came back around the Coliseum she went with them.
Over the years, I taught every child in the neighborhood how to ride his/her bike. It’s difficult knowing how to let a child go. They can fall, but if you don’t let go they will never know how to learn. This is the challenge you will face this year.
Thirteen years later I taught Suzanne in college. In the next four years, I taught her in five classes. That young girl who lacked confidence to ride a bicycle had become an impressive young adult. Since she has graduated, she has had a career that has spanned two continents.
One of the joys I have is seeing young people develop. I have had the joy of watching 1,000’s of them develop. I hope that my observations will be useful to you as you transition from parent to the new role that will begin evolving this week..