It’s finals week again, parents. And, as usual, the tenor on campus is one of exhaustion, survival, scraping by until Derby Day comes. The good news is, it’s only temporary. Much like the weather in this city, the atmosphere on a college campus is contantly in flux.
A rising sophomore stopped by my office today to tell me about how her exam week was going so far. As we chatted, she revealed that two classes have really changed her this semester. She described them both as insightful, and said that they had cause her to think in a way that made her feel more confident than she had in a long time. She had decided to change her major based on these experiences, and seemed very happy reflecting on the close of this year and thinking about next semester.
“That’s what it’s all about, ” I told her, “College changes you–it’s supposed to.” She smiled, seeming comfortable in life changes she had not anticipated only ten months ago when she moved herself into the residence halls.
And in many ways, college is all about change–awesome, intense, scary, unexpected, life-shaping change. That’s why we say there will always be hard times and great times–change isn’t ever level, flat, smooth ground, is it?
After this week of madness and brain strain is over, your student will have time to reflect about what the sum of this year has done to him or her. Or perhaps, your student will finish high school and wonder, with that gleam of potential in his or her eye, what college life will bring.
For all of you, we can gaurantee only this: it will bring change. For freshmen, sophomore year will be a completely different experience academically, mentally, and emotionally. It will continue to stretch them and change them in ways that are both challenging and amazing. Incoming freshmen have no way of knowing what lies ahead, and will count on Mom and Dad to send the most basic, but most important message of all: “It’s hard, but it’s time. I’m here for you and I have faith that you’ll make it.”
Upperclassmen will suffer that wistful feeling of leaving childhood behind as they grow toward internships, full-time jobs, expectations, and realities. They will also start to feel, at sporadic intervals, the elation and pride that comes with scoring the fantatsic internship, landing the first “big-kid” job, and moving into their own places for the first time. But parents of upperlcassmen know by now, the message is the same: “It’s hard, but it’s time. I’m here for you and I have faith the you’ll make it.”
(For further reading on this subject, check out my previous blog “I Never Had to Work This Hard,” which includes a classic Tom Hanks reference).
NEW READERS: Be sure to check out previous blogs–such as “Things That Will Blow Your Freshman’s Mind Parts I & II”–about what your freshman can expect!
Jessica Hume, Class of 2005
Director of Writing and Parent Communications, ARC