First Year Parents
You have survived the college search and selection process and have supported your son or daughter to this monumental milestone. You should be proud of yourself and your son or daughter. Now is an exciting time as they move to their next phase of their growth and development at Loyola Marymount University. It is a time you have all thought about and planned for many years.
This first year of college will be a time that you will experience practically every emotion known to humans; happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiety, fear and calm. This first year is full of ups and downs as your sons or daughters take a huge step into adulthood and you, as parents take a step back. The new roles for everyone may feel awkward at first, but it is normal through this time of transition. As they expererience new freedoms, responsibilities and pressures, it will be normal to feel stressed.
We hope this webpage will serve as a resource to help you as you help your son or daughter learn to navigate LMU.
There have been decades upon decades of research and study about student development. It has moved from the time where the college was "en loco parentis", which means the college acted on behalf of the parents for the good of the student. Then there was a move to the Student Services model, which was a shift influenced by social and behavioral studies that centered around individual needs and the focus was on providing services. Although some aspects of the Student Services model remain in place, the shift has been toward the Student Development model. This is based on development models and is designed to stimulate self-understanding, strengthen skills and increase knowledge. This model recognizes the continued growth and development of students throughout college.
College is a time where students seek independence from their parents and begin to search for maturity and self-identity. They will still seek your advice, love and support, they will begin to make their own decisions. This letting go and being there to support them becomes a very tricky dance and will change continuously until they gain confidence in their decision making skills. Your son or daughter will mature as they become more and more accountable for their choices and decisions. All the while they will be seeking your guidance. One important thing to remember is that your son or daughter's view of their world is now constantly changing. They have new surroundings, new friends and a new place to live. They are meeting people from varied backgrounds and will begin to question and challenge what they know and believe. Many students say they feel different after they start college. They have opened themselves up to new and diverse experiences, cultures and ideas so their view of the world changes. Don't be surprised if their eating and sleeping habits change. The key is to be prepared for these changes. Try to be patient as they figure it out.
The first few months of college will bring a huge shift for most college students. They now have full responsibility for every aspect of their lives. As they learn to juggle their responsibilities while establishing themselves in their new surroundings, they will feel stressed, especially at "crunch times" like midterms and finals. Here are some common freshman stresses:
- Self-confidence - Even the most confident freshman have doubts about their ability to handle the academic, personal and social demands of college. For many, the fear of failing causes them to withdraw from these new challenges.
- Homesickness - Some students have difficulty adjusting to being away from all the comforts of home while they work to establish themselves at school - building a new social network, choosing classes, setting their own schedules for sleeping, eating, studying and socializing. Your son or daughter may struggle with feelings of incompetence, sadness or anxiety. The best thing you can do is be a good listener and reassure them that you have faith in their abilities. A simple "I know you can do this", and helping them to break their tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks will help solidify their growing ability to handle their new circumstances.
- Finances - There are two concerns with students and money; credit cards and working too much to earn money that it takes away from time to study. Set up a realistic budget and re-evaluate it often the first semester. If a student has to work to help with college expenses, be sure the time to work doesn't compromise their ability to do well academically.
For more information on First Year Experience please contact Mary Plumb, Parent Program Coordinator at (310) 338-1798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.