Wake Wednesday for P’24s

It’s Wake Wednesday – which means today’s message will be largely aimed at our P’24 incoming parents and families (though I hope P’21s-23s might find some value in this too!)

A note before we begin today: I’m writing this from the vantage point of a normal semester – not necessarily with COVID in mind. So know this is advice I would typically give at this time of year, and may need to be adjusted once plans for fall are announced, which will be on or before June 30.

Normally in June, I start telling our incoming families that you need to prepare your incoming first year student now for the major life adjustments that will come once college begins. One of the biggest shocks for new students is having total autonomy, combined with a lack of immediate accountability.

For most of our incoming ’24 students, this will be the first time in their lives when they will not have parents/loved ones there in their home to tell them what to do and when to do it.

Students will have to decide when to eat (and how much), if/when to exercise (and how much), when is bedtime, when is homework time, when is fun time. They will have to figure out things like: Can I party? If so how much? Will I drink? If so, what are my drinking limits? How will I express my sexuality or engage in sexual activity?

And all of these mental calculations and actions are taking place with no parents/loved ones watching nearby.

College brings a lot of temptations, distractions, and diversions that can steer students away from their studies – and not a lot of accountability until midterms and final grades. Students have to balance this new freedom with self-monitoring and responsibility. It isn’t easy.

So start talking about time management now. Start talking about the fact that your Deac will have to be cognizant of all these competing pressures and distractions and make a plan for how they will handle it.

But as I have said before, THEY will have to be the ones to figure those things out.  As parents and families, it’s hard not to tell them what to do and how to do it (after all, we all want our kids to succeed!) but your Deacs are going to learn best when they make their own decisions and figure things out on their own. Our oft-used graphic, Stop, Drop, and Roll, is one to read and bookmark for future use.

So raise these topics – but do so rhetorically, don’t provide them answers or instructions just yet. What might that look like? You can draw on your own college experience if you had one, or relate these to challenges you had when you first moved into your own house or apartment:

Honey, one of the challenges I had in college was figuring out where and when I studied most effectively. It might be worth you doing some reflection this summer about how/when/where you best studied in high school so you have some ideas in mind for this fall.

Once I was living on my own, I ate a lot of pizza and didn’t eat as healthy as I should. You’ll be making all your own food choices soon – so spend a little time thinking about how you will approach your meal choices once I am not here to plan meals for you.

You get the idea.

While your students have to adjust to their new reality, so do all our P’24s. We’ll talk about some of the changes parents and families will experience in the next Wake Wednesday 😊

And a couple parting thoughts for today:

Just a reminder to keep your eye out on the parents and families section of the New Students website; scroll down to the bottom for dates, or look at the First Year Parent and Family Calendar.

Finally, I have heard from several P’24s asking if they/their student can get a hard copy of Forestry 101 or the First Year Parent and Family Calendar. Sadly, the answer is no. At the time these publications would have needed to go to print for an early May mailout, there were way too many unknowns due to COVID. We obviously did not want to print due dates or requirements in a print book or calendar in the event that they might change later as public health guidance and/or University decisions changed.

Please know you can look through a flipbook version of Forestry 101. But also know that all of the most critical info – dates, deadlines, forms, etc. – are available on the various pages and subpages of newstudents.wfu.edu.

Thanks for your understanding! Stay safe and well, Deac families 🙂


— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

Categories: the daily deac

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