Having Your Deacs Home Again

Thanksgiving break just happened, and many Wake Forest students headed home for the long weekend.  In a few short weeks we’ll be at Winter Break, when all the students will be home for close to a month.  And even though they’ll be home again, as you might have discovered at Thanksgiving, it’s not like they’ll be returning to what life was like in high school.  Your college student’s return home is an adjustment for both students and families alike.

Here are some of the potential things you might have had to navigate at Thanksgiving – and almost certainly will need to deal with at Winter Break:

  • Sleep schedules – students live a much more nocturnal lifestyle at college. Many students sleep in as late as their classes allow, and stay up very late at night to do their schoolwork.  This schedule can cause tension if you want to plan family activities that suit the rest of your family’s much earlier-in-the-day schedule.
  • Social life – related to the above, many students don’t plan to visit friends or see a movie until 11 p.m. or midnight, much to the dismay of parents and family members who believe (as my mom did) that “nothing good can possibly be going on between midnight and 3 am”.
  • Curfew – your students may balk at the idea of a curfew, arguing that they have been living on their own all semester without any formal rules. As a parent or family member, you may want to insist (for your own peace of mind) that they come home by a certain time.
  • Driving long distances to visit friends – many students enjoy a Road Trip, and it is not uncommon to drive an hour or more to visit friends or go to another city where something fun is happening (concert, sporting event, etc.) In addition to families worrying about students driving late at night, there can be hurt feelings that their student is wanting to spend more time with their friends than with younger siblings or family.
  • Cleanliness (of person or room) – students may leave their childhood room in disarray or expect you to pick up after them, or not do their laundry/shower as often as their family members would like.
  • Drinking alcohol at holiday celebrations – it’s still illegal for students under 21 to drink, but will families allow their student a glass of wine at a holiday meal? Or around the house?
  • The student’s room – has it been given to a younger sibling? Remodeled for an office?  If students find their old rooms have been substantially changed while they were away, it can cause conflict.

So if you had your Deacs home briefly at Thanksgiving, you might have dealt with some of this already.  Knowing that a longer break is coming in a month, it might be helpful for family members and students to set some ground rules before the holidays.  That way, each party knows what to expect on the issues they most care about, and you aren’t trying to negotiate items during a conflict.

There is an old, but still excellent article online that deals with some of the key issues families and students face when adjusting to each other during the first extended stay at home following their first semester of college:  http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/4228.aspx


For more information on how to contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.

If Your Student Has a Problem

One of the most important ways parents and families can help their students in college is by encouraging them to solve their own problems. Please bookmark or print out this Stop, Drop, and Roll flyer so you have it when your student contacts you with a problem.  Also, the flyer lists contact information for urgent and serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.

Orientation 2016 Handouts and Slide Shows

Select information and presentations from Orientation 2016 are available online.