8 tips for parents of first-year students from parents of graduates
The arrival of a child at university brings parents both joy and panic. How can they support their new student and help them avoid trouble? Fathers of graduates share their experiences.
The student years are a transitional phase between school and adulthood. It is a time when independence and responsibility are formed. Of course, you should take an interest in your child’s life and help out. But controlling every step of the way can only hurt. Let your child make their own decisions and take responsibility for them.
Parental supervision should be periodic. From time to time, ask about your child’s learning, and relationships with teachers and classmates. Try to be supportive rather than critical. Share your own experiences and tell them not only about your achievements as a student but also about your mistakes. Then your child will trust you more and ask for advice.
Don’t ask too much about grades, notes, and tests. The first months of school are very stressful for students. They have to get used to a different grading system, new tests, and many other changes. It is better to ask what subjects your first-year student likes and to advise him on the best essay writing service WritingAPaper, that can help with the writing of academic papers of any complexity. Make them feel that you care about their interests, not just control them.
Help him interact with the team
At school, practically the whole learning process was controlled by the teacher. At university, the area of responsibility will widen considerably. Students themselves choose the academic literature, control the number of points earned during the semester, and monitor the deadlines and their own “tails”. It is always too difficult to decide everything by oneself. You need to collaborate.
Ask about your son or daughter’s relationship with his or her classmates. Suggest some ideas on how to prepare effectively for a module or a test. Encourage cooperation: sharing information, notes, helping, and asking for help. This will not only enable you to do well in exams but also teach you to be a good team player in any situation in life.
Teach financial management
Most parents opt for a simple scheme: give a certain amount of pocket money a month and not control expenditure. A child may spend the money during the first week and be in trouble. What should they do next: give the money again, or let them work it out?
Either way can lead to bad consequences. It’s best to help the student plan their budget. But first, you need to practice certain things. Explain to your child the importance of paying your bills on time and help them prioritize their expenses. Talk about frivolous purchases and things you shouldn’t save on.
Allow them to choose their future
Parents often let themselves make choices for their children. After all, mum and dad already have some experience and know where they need to go to succeed.
But school-leavers don’t always have a clear picture of their future. They don’t know exactly what their place in society will be, or what they will enjoy doing in life. There is only the here and now. In such a situation, the child can be encouraged to make choices in a certain way. Help her to decide based on her interests.
But this consciousness will come to the university. Subsequently, the student will understand in which direction he/she wants to go. So try not to influence your child’s choice of major.
Your student may also want to change majors, departments, or even universities. This may be an impulsive decision due to stress or conflict. Give your child time to think about it. But if the decision is well thought out, just don’t stop your son or daughter from making his or her future. It’s better to change your life while you’re still young. Not when you already have a family and realize you’ve been doing something you don’t love for years.
There are critical cases, too: In his third year, my son started working in his profession. But he didn’t have enough time to study. That’s why the problems started. And in the end, it all came down to deductions. I was very worried, I asked him to go to any private university or at least a college. I was afraid that he would be left without an education. But my son was determined to finish his university. He recovered, and this time he completed his studies. It was his adult choice,” shares a mother of one of the graduates.
Help connect learning and life
A student’s studies often follow a pattern: study, make it up, forget it. You need to get grades, add up the session, and get out on a scholarship. And then at work already remember some university subjects and regret that so little time was given to them.
The attitude changes when a student looks at a subject as an experience that can be useful in future work.
But it’s hard to come to this on your own. Help your children. It’s better to advise them to find an internship, an apprenticeship, or volunteer work related to their specialty. Or develop some kind of project yourself. This will help you find out what knowledge is really useful in practice, and look at learning from a different angle.
Choose a hostel
If your child is moving to another city and accommodation needs to be sorted out, definitely choose a hostel. The conditions might not be very good there: a few people in a room, shared bathroom and kitchen. But it is an incredible experience. The hostel is a separate small community. There, students learn to take full responsibility for their belongings and to run their households.
A big plus is also the opportunity to learn how to interact with others. Completely different people may live in the same room and need to be flexible, empathetic, and understanding. Young people also have to deal with life situations on their own and support each other. Life in a hostel is also a romantic experience because of talking until the wee hours of the morning, songs with a guitar, new friends.
Encourage your son or daughter to share household responsibilities with their roommates: set up a cleaning schedule, and cook meals together. This arrangement makes life easier. For example, your child is working on a lengthy essay. There is no time to cook anything at all. In such a moment, interaction comes in handy: today you will be fed a tasty dinner, and tomorrow you will treat someone.
Set your child up with the idea that you don’t have to become friends with your neighbors. It is important just to be tolerant and to find a common language.
If you do decide to rent a flat, it’s a good idea to share it with another student. In this way, adapting to everything new will go a little easier. Try not to hold everything in your hands, but share responsibilities for the flat with your child: you can entrust them to pay the utility bills and top up your internet account, and you can communicate with your landlord and pay the rent yourself.
Don’t get to know the teachers
Interfering in the learning process may not have the best consequences. Some parents go to the teachers, consult them about the learning process, find out their grades, and some even cause a scandal. This hurts the attitude towards the student at university. Teachers do not perceive him or her as an independent person who can make important decisions and choices. It is, therefore, better to entrust the education itself entirely to the son or daughter.
“From the first day of study, my son was very nervous. My husband and I helped him sort out the classrooms, and the subjects and made sure he got good textbooks. But over time, we got so involved that the whole learning process already rested on our shoulders. We conferred with teachers on term papers, called the old-age phone number to find out the topics of essays, and monitored the class schedule on the university’s website. My son no longer felt responsible for his studies, and the university no longer perceived him as an interested student. We had to work hard to get out of that situation,” parents share.
But keep your finger on the pulse, though. It may be that the child is just afraid to talk about his or her problems. If you notice a change in mood: if he or she is withdrawn or, on the contrary, shows uncharacteristic emotions, ask what is the matter. Your son or daughter may be experiencing pressure from classmates, or be having serious problems in a particular subject. You can go to the class teacher and ask him or her to clarify the situation. But don’t do it publicly. The problem could just be that your child has fallen in love, or has had a row with someone.
Help with the everyday life
Students need time to adjust. At first, it is not easy to get to grips with all the new things. Simple everyday tasks sometimes slip your mind. Parents should therefore take care of the non-academic staff. Free your child from household chores for a while. Find him the best writing services to make some days off for your child. He will definitely appreciate it if you help with some of his studying.
If your child will be studying in another city, help them figure out the route from university to housing, and advise them to buy a bus pass. Such details add up to a lot of time, which is more important for your student to spend on adapting to the learning process.