Once your student starts college, it’ll be a hard adjustment. Between moving from home, living long distances from close friends, and essentially having to start over in a brand new city at a brand new school is a rocky path. While it may appear that your student is transitioning okay, extending your support as a family can do a world of wonders for your student as they go through classes, friendships, realizations, problems, and more.
When you hear “supporting your student through college,” it’s possible that your mind jumps to money; you’ll think of tuition, scholarships, grants, food plans, grocery and gas money, financial disbursements. However, as much as college students love some extra cash and fast food, familial support extends beyond these actions. Support can mean sending a letter to their mailbox, which I can assure you never gets any mail otherwise. Showing support can mean remembering little details they tell you, like if they have a huge exam coming up or if they have an event this weekend with their student organization. Showing support can be sending a good morning or good night text, or calling them sometime in the afternoon to talk about their day. It doesn’t cost much to let your student know you’re thinking of them, whether you’re right across town, nine hours south, or in a different state.
As the semester goes on and stress about classes is at its peak, the best thing you can do for your student is to support and encourage them. This support can come in brief reminders such as reminding them that it’s important to go to class, take time to study hard for tests, and to make sure they’re taking care of themselves. These actions may seem like you’re babying or being overly-controlling, but it really isn’t; students can use advice from the people that can give it best, which can be their family. No matter what you tell them, they are sure to think about it twice if it comes from you- especially in a caring manner. If your student is particularly struggling with school, consider researching the resources FSU offers to help them. Chances are they are completely overwhelmed or swamped with schoolwork, and if it’s their first year, they might be completely unaware of what to do. By sharing resources like Academic Support from the Academic Center For Excellence or the University Counseling Center, your student will recognize that you’re helping them as best as you can without being there with them. It does take some stress off, but it also keeps them responsible because they have to make the final call for what they do.
As far as a student perspective, many students appreciate the support they receive from their parents in any form. Whether you like to send care packages every once in a while, constantly give them updates from home, or text questions about their classes and schedule, I can assure you they enjoy it even if they don’t always respond (your student would notice right away if you were to stop). It’s the little things that they do notice and appreciate it, mostly because nobody can give you enough attention and love like a family can!
By Abby Cloud