Mt Rainier over lower campus at PLU on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

November 2016: Parent eNews

Your student has been learning and growing for the past semester. They have been taking on the world with a lot more independence and a lot more responsibility. Their habits, thought processes, expectations, and even appearance may have changed quite a bit in just a few short months. Never fear! Residential Life is here to guide you through the transition back home for the holidays!

Prepare yourself for changes when your student returns home. Not only have they been living on their own, they have been learning and growing on their own as well. The first year of college is a period of tremendous change and growth, and students demonstrate this change in different ways—new haircut, new piercings, tattoos, changes in religious or political beliefs, etc. Your student will appreciate your support, rather than criticism, through this changing time. Recognize that while your student may be going through many changes, in the long run, your student will probably maintain many of the core values that you instilled.

Returning home for Thanksgiving and Winter break is very exciting for students. They will be back with friends and family, and in a familiar place again. However, there may be some conflict about how staying at home will work. Remember that your student has been making their own decisions for the past several months, and their expectations may be different than your own. Make sure to set boundaries and expectations as soon as your student returns home or, preferably, before! This will help in making the transition from school to home a little bit easier for both of you.

As a parent, you have knowledge that can only come with experience. Share that knowledge with your student! Your past experiences are very valuable to your student, and can help them to meet their goals and expectations for this year. Provide your student with your own advice, or provide them with resources on campus that will help them become more successful as a student. The Academic Assistance Center or professor’s office hours are great places that your student can turn to for help with their school work.

Lastly, stress levels will most likely be high as students navigate through their impending papers, assignments and exams. Reminding them of a few healthy tips will help them succeed. Encourage your student to practice healthy eating, sleeping and exercise habits to help reduce the stress of exam time. Students can fall out of their good habits when they leave for college and going back home is a good place to become re-connected with a more balanced routine. Healthy habits will not only reduce stress, but will help your student battle potential sickness that could result in them falling behind and not enjoying college. Resources like the Health Center or the Counseling Center can be very helpful when your student needs assistance on campus with their physical or mental health. With your support and encouragement, your student will be able to focus on their diet, sleep, relaxation and exercise routine to be more successful in all aspects of their life.

Having your student back for the break is exciting and we encourage you to take full advantage of the time you have together. Guide them, encourage them, grow with them, and most of all, love and support them! We hope you enjoy the holidays and have a great time with your student when they return home. Go Lutes!