The late summer for a first year college student is often a frenzy of purchasing all the trendiest dorm accessories, while trying to soak in every last minute with friends who will soon walk their own path. Parents trade insider tips about medical/first aid kits and all the legal documents, like health care directives, for their newly christened adult children.
Yet, what can be overlooked, ignored, masked, denied is the new chapter dawning in families and doe-eyed teenagers about to traverse life without the immediate supervision of family. The emotion often wells up in moms and dads equally, as well as teens in their angsty, yet intuitive way only the young can still access. Thus, conversations can often be avoided.
I mean, how many parents talk frankly with their teenagers about underage drinking, not with the intent to restrict behavior, but so teens can be safe? How many teens understand the risks of sexual assault in those first heady weeks of the new term when all first years are seeking a place to belong? Do families teach teens how to manage a monthly allowance or the perils of credit cards?
Furthermore, how many students step on campus with a road map to guide their academic choices, and tune their intuition to recognize collaborative partners in peers and mentors to discover even more about their inherent aptitude? Not many teens complete a thorough self-reflection, as part of the application process, so know little about themselves, critical missteps at an important juncture in their young lives.
While normal to be nervous about the uncertainty of life yet to unfold, with candor, parents and teens can expose the unknowns which can be known, like, “Why am I studying whatever major I declared?” Or practicing situational awareness to survey one’s circumstances more acutely to pay attention, and react accordingly, even creating protocols for immediate assistance, if needed.
So, as The Summer of the Long Goodbye, those three months where soon-to-be first year college students are “breaking up” with their childhoods in order to start anew, prudent families will take a few extra moments to talk plainly and openly about the potential pitfalls as well as the opportunities for a teenager starting their adult lives.
For over twenty years, Creative Marbles experts have moderated family conversations regarding complex educational decisions, lending our expertise to reduce the risk of malinvestment. For more information, contact us.