What to ‘pack’ in preparation for the big move

12 Aug

This is one of many articles from our Parent’s Newsletter, sent three times a year to parents of new and returning SFA students. To sign up to receive the newsletter, please click here

By Ralph Busby, Director of Counseling and Career Services

The time is at hand for students to leave home for university. Many parents attended orientation, and now all the planning, preparation, and last-minute decisions are almost complete. You may be reviewing your list and checking off items, which certainly brings a sense of accomplishment.

Here are a few last-minute “packing” suggestions for parents of college-bound students:

Help them pack a positive attitude by encouraging them to work hard, do their best and begin the quest from the very first day. It has been my observation that students often become so enamored with their newfound freedom that they neglect to take care of business – go to class and study. It may be that course syllabi state that exams will begin around the third or fourth week of the semester, and students sometimes believe that they can coast for two to three weeks before getting serious about studying. Upperclassmen learned that this plan does not bear fruit. Rather, it may lead to serious stress as students play catch-up when they realize that the first round of exams are closing in.

The second item to pack is a determination to connect with SFA and fellow students. Some students will attend Jack Camp, some will attend Jacks Back Welcome Week and others will just hang out and make friends. Those taking SFA 101 will attend the Freshman Convocation and witness all their fellow students assembled in one place in preparation for the beginning of the year. It will be helpful to encourage attendance at football games, where the excitement about the new year and becoming a Lumberjack becomes contagious. Participating in clubs and organizations is another great way for students to connect with the campus community and make friends. Other activities, such as programs at the Recreation Center, also are available and attract many students.

Another thing to encourage them to pack is the expectation that the transition will go well, but caution them that there may be some difficulties. During parent orientation, we discussed that a preferable tactic is to acknowledge their ability to develop strategies for dealing with difficulties that arise. Encourage your student to refer to the resources provided in the Orientation Handbook and ask questions of residence hall staff, who are always willing to point students in the right direction. The Academic Assistance and Resource Center is open for those needing help with classes, and the Counseling Center can help those feeling overwhelmed by homesickness. There are students, faculty and staff all over campus who are willing to assist.

Finally, pack abundant love. My wife and I concluded “MeMaw and PaPaw Camp” near the end of July and basked in the love and affection of four granddaughters. It is my observation that your children never become satiated with love. Tell them over and over how much they mean to you, how proud you are of them, and more than anything, tell them how much you love them.

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