As we welcome November, here are some things that might surface in the next few weeks, as well as a few tips for helping your student navigate the upcoming weeks at Whitworth:
- With the “fall back” time change, days in Spokane are shorter and the decrease in sunshine can affect the students; less time in the fresh air as everyone migrates indoors
- Students may experience colds/viruses; remind your young adult to get a flu shot on campus or schedule one during a visit home; encourage sleep
- Being indoors more, roommate issues may crop up; if this happens, encourage your student to seek RA support
- Some students experience “The Turkey Drop”—breaking up with a girlfriend between fall break and Thanksgiving, either back at home or on campus
- The stress of grades; wonderment about exams may surface
- Anxiety about a first trip home (freshmen) since they left home; similar anxiety for parents about how to handle curfew for students who haven’t had a curfew per se; discuss how excited you are about their arrival home for the holidays via Skype, FaceTime or phone; though the rules of home still exist (or have been modified) express how you look forward to family dinners and sharing traditions such as Christmas tree cutting, watching favorite movies, sporting events, etc.
- If your student is not coming home due to distance, finances, etc., plan a time or two where you can connect via phone or other technology; encourage your student to go home with a friend if asked
- If your student has a roommate who cannot go home, consider inviting the roommate to join your family for Thanksgiving
- Be a cheerleader—encourage your student to forge ahead even when tired, fatigued or frustrated; remember that what seems like a huge challenge one day may become a minor problem after a conversation with you and a good night of sleep
- Consider sending a care package to help students “survive” the rigors of finals—the Finals Week Survival Kits care are a great option or send a special one from home that might include an inexpensive string of Christmas lights for a dorm room
- Delay a couple of favorite traditions for when your student arrives home for Christmas; save their favorite ornaments for them to put on the tree; plan a movie night with the family’s favorite holiday DVD; etc.
Every family is unique, but without a doubt, this is a new season of life for every member of your family! Take a deep breath, listen for what you and your family members need, and give plenty grace.
A special thanks to Patti Domas, mom of Erik, ’16, for this thoughtful and timely piece. Patti and her husband Arne reside in Woodinville, Wash., and they both faithfully serve on the Parent and Family Council.