As you transition your teen off to college, know that the community at the Catholic Student Center and St. Elizabeth University Parish is here to help you and your teen in whatever ways we can. Please encourage your teen to become involved in some aspect of the community life here at the Catholic Student Center. We look forward to walking with them in this part of their lives. Please remember to pray daily for your teen as they adapt to this new phase in their lives and please pray for all of the ministries here at the Catholic Student Center.
We highly encourage each incoming student to participate in Encounter. It is a weekend-long retreat held at the Catholic Student Center the first weekend after school starts. It is a fantastic way for your teen to find out about all of the happenings at the Catholic Student Center as well as meet many other incoming students and other active participants. It is a great way to ‘plug-in’ to all that we have happening.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about anything happening here at the Catholic Student Center. We wish you all the best as you go through this transition. Know you will be in our thoughts and prayers. Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with Raider Catholic!
You are going to miss them, that’s for certain. But before you claim the top bunk in your son or daughter’s dorm room, try these suggestions for a smooth transition to college life:
Schedule your goodbye – Decide ahead of time at what point you’ll leave on move-in day so that the goodbye doesn’t come as a surprise. Does your daughter want you to help unpack? Or would she rather put her things away while chatting with her new roommate?
Communicate about communication – Determine when and how often you and your child will be in touch. Arrive at a compromise, if necessary. Let your child know you’re willing to listen when needed.
Keep in touch, but don’t overwhelm – Phone calls let your son know he’s missed, but daily wake-up calls aren’t necessary.
Send “real” mail – E-mails with family updates are great, and often the most convenient way to stay in touch. Once in a while, though, try a creative way to say “I love you.” Send clippings from your hometown newspaper, small care packages, or family photos of summer fun.
Tell your child about campus resources – Resident assistants, personal counseling centers, and chaplains are often readily available for spontaneous discussions about homesickness or any other problems that may arise.
Move-in day can be stressful and emotional for everyone. Here are some tips to help keep tensions to a minimum:
Do your homework – Where can cars enter campus for move-in? Does the dorm have an elevator? Is the huge fridge you’re planning to buy for your student actually allowed in the dorm? Getting these details in place beforehand can save you the stress of dealing with them on move-in day.
Try to stay calm – Trying to deal with the pressures, emotions, and anxieties of this transition to college life, your teen may not be at his or her best. There may be short tempers and snippy comments. As much as possible, try to hold back comments that will only escalate tension (“Well, I can see from your behavior today that you’re certainly not ready to be a grown-up. Maybe we should just turn this car around and go back home!”).
Defer decorating decisions – You may not like heavy metal, but a poster of your teen’s favorite band may make the new dorm room feel more like a home and give your teen a sense of independence.
Take a back-seat role – As much as possible, let your teen lead the way during move-in. For instance, when checking in, using the campus map, or asking questions about dorm rules. This will help your teen feel empowered in his or her new setting.
Discuss finances – Make sure you and your teen have agreed on who will pay for books, food, medication, cell phone, and credit card bills long before you start packing the car.
Go to parent orientation – If there’s one offered, this is a great opportunity for you to ask questions, and also give you a chance to mingle with other parents who likely are experiencing the same fears and anxieties.
Adapted from Catholic Digest, Sept. 2006.