Hello Humboldt families! We hope this newsletter helps keep you involved with your student's experience at Humboldt State.
Dealing with the Distance
Every new school year comes with growing pains as parents and students work to figure out their changing relationship. Now that the semester is underway, you might be feeling the shift too.
I remember when I first came to HSU from Corona, Calif. I had spent a semester in D.C., so I knew what to expect from life on campus – the cooking, budgeting, roommates. But I didn't understand how different saying goodbye was going to be this time. Sure, I go back home for holidays here and there, but it's amazing how much I've grown in the last year and a half. And that's meant adjustments in the parent/student dynamic.
"It's different for everybody and it's different every time, whether this is your first or sixth child going to college," says Rebecca Stauffer, Director of HSU's Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services.
At orientation, Stauffer talks with parents about letting go. Here are a few of her suggestions:
"It's normal development for young people to be testing their identities, their independence and their values," Stauffer says. As a parent, you need to listen to your students without judgment – and with encouragement – as they navigate their lives.
And if you're worried about the frequency of communication, take a cue from your student. "Let the student set the pace," Stauffer says. "Discuss communication needs and check in if you haven't heard from them by now."
September is the season for homesickness, so don't be surprised if you get a lonely call from your son or daughter. Stauffer's advice is to listen and let your student vent. Chances are, the one-month blues will pass soon. Trust your intuition if you're concerned that it could be anything more serious.
We all make mistakes. Like it or not, students will make a few of their own. Whether it's an overdraft fee or choosing the wrong elective, letting your student work through the consequences will help him or her grow. "Cut them as much slack as you would yourself – and probably a lot more," Stauffer says. "Stay available as support, but allow them to choose their own path – even if it might not be the one you would choose."
Take Care of Yourself
Adjusting to a child in college can cause anxiety. But relax. If you're worried, Stauffer says, ask yourself what you can do immediately. If it's nothing, do your best to just let it go.
"Remember that your student is not your project," she says. If you find that all your spare time is taken up with concern for your student, it could be a sign that you need to explore other interests.
Finally, don't be afraid to seek out support from friends and family in similar situations. But be careful not to unload your concerns on your student. Check out www.successfulcollegeparenting.com for more resources to get you through.
About the editor – Desiree Perez is from Corona, Calif., and is a Journalism major with a concentration in Broadcast and an area of study in Film. She is a student writer with HSU Marketing & Communications and volunteer for the Graduation Pledge Alliance. She wants to be a documentary filmmaker before she grows up.
Meet Humboldt: Kevan Beall
"After graduation I plan to further my studies in another country through the Peace Corps. I want to help a community in another region of the globe learn to be sustainable and how in doing so, they can improve their quality of life."
Read More »
"I do believe that while it's hard to let go, not of our kids but of our need to be the problem solvers/saviors for them, they really will figure it out. What did we do when we were their age? Do we really expect less of them than we did of ourselves at their age? …When all is said and done, our believing in our children will be one of the greatest gifts we ever give them." Read more »
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