If your student is not graduating, you will hopefully have him (or her) home for the summer. If having deep conversations is part of your normal parent-child dynamic, the summer might be a great time for you to ask some questions that might help your student unpack his or her experience this year.
This is not a time to grill your child necessarily, because I don’t want to suggest that you put him or her on edge or on the defensive. But you might want to have an adult conversation where you ask your student about some of his/her Wake Forest experiences and reflect on your own college experiences as applicable.
Here are some thoughts for posing some deep questions (thanks to the Mentoring Resource Center for ideas!)
What were some of the things you loved best (whether classes, people, experiences) and why did you love them?
What did you not enjoy, and why?
What surprised you this year?
Where did you feel like you grew the most?
If you were starting Wake Forest all over, what would you do differently and why?
What were the differences between the best and worst decisions you have made?
What has made you the happiest?
How can I best help and support you during your college journey?
Also, parents, I encounter many students who feel apprehension about pressure to please their parents – either by choice of major, by being involved in the same organizations their parents were in, via their GPA, etc. This pressure may or may not be coming from you, but some of your students feel it, even if they are just imagining that pressure.
If you are not intentionally putting pressure on them, be explicit and tell them so. Sometimes they need to hear that their parents or family is OK with them just as they are, and that they are not expected to walk your same path. Acknowledging that to them may release a considerable amount of pressure for them. As smart as your kids are – and they are plenty smart – sometimes they still need to hear the obvious: that you love them for who they are, unconditionally.