A Family’s Guide to Preventing BU Sickness


Last week Galileo Learning Community students attended an end of the year lunch where they decorated ornaments.

Before the mad rush of finals, I thought I’d touch on another upcoming subject, one that might not be on your minds just yet.

For new parents and families, it might come as a surprise that your student’s first winter break will be yet another “new” experience. Although you know your family situation is not exactly the same with young Sarah or Ryan in college, you might not have considered how different the home dynamic during an extended vacation will be. Along with a toy box of possible conflicts (such as curfews, guests, and family expectations), your son or daughter may experience what we call “BU sickness.” NOTE: I don’t want to overlook the importance of anticipating conflicts and communicating with your son/daughter, but that topic will be covered extensively in the next parent newsletter. Look for it in your mailbox around December 14th. In the meantime, check out this excellent article from MSNBC by Dr. Ruth A. Peters.

Here at Bellarmine, we’ve spent all semester trying to get first-year students acquainted with BU life and keeping upperclassmen engaged, so it might be difficult for some students to spend three weeks away from that newfound routine and closeness. They might feel BU sickness (an overwhelming desire just to come back) or be unable to figure out how the two parts of their life (home and Bellarmine) fit together. Here are some fun suggestions for making Bellarmine part of the break:

  • If you’re within a reasonable driving distance of Bellarmine, make a family outing of attending a Women’s Basketball game in Knight’s Hall. There are games on December 30th (at 2 p.m.) and December 31st (at 3 p.m.). Suggest that your student invite some Bellarmine friends to join you.
  • Suggest that your student invite a Bellarmine friend to visit for a few nights to show him/her the highlights of your home and hometown.
  • Consider gifting a BU hoodie or sweatshirt. Students love the things and wear them everywhere.
  • Take your son/daughter shopping for a small item that might make a difference in his/her life next semester. It could be a houseplant for the residence hall, a planner, or a new backpack—whatever you get, your son or daughter will realize that you’re considering his or her new needs.

The point is that although your holidays might be a little different this year, you have the opportunity to start new traditions!

What other suggestions and experiences do you have for preventing BU sickness, helping students balance home life and college life, and making the holidays a fun and relaxing time for everyone?


About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

2 comments on “A Family’s Guide to Preventing BU Sickness

  1. glad you addressed this, now I can be prepared for it, I hadn’t even thought about this aspect of my student’s vacation! much appreciated

    • I’m glad you found it helpful, Debbie. There will be an article about it in the newsletter that we’re mailing out next week! Happy Holidays!

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