Thanksgiving break is a couple of weeks away, and the vast majority of Wake Forest students will be headed home to finish classes and finals remotely, and will remain home for an extended winter break. When your Deac comes home, it’s not like they will 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 to navigate at Thanksgiving and beyond:
Sleep schedules – students live a much more nocturnal lifestyle at college. Many students sleep in as late as their classes allow, then stay up very late at night to do their schoolwork. This schedule can cause tension if you want to plan meals or activities that suit the rest of your family’s much earlier-in-the-day schedule.
Class schedules and finals prep – while your Deac will be home, they are still at work. They have to have space and privacy to attend classes, write their final papers, study for finals (and the take those finals). It will be most helpful if you respect those work boundaries.
Going out/socializing – you and your student might have differing levels of comfort related to going out or socializing. Your Deac may crave social time with friends from high school, which is understandable. It’s also reasonable that you might have concerns about socializing during a pandemic. You and your Deac will have to come to an understanding that you can both live with for the next several weeks.
Curfew – related to the above, if your Deac can visit friends in COVID-appropriate ways, many students don’t start the social part of their day late at night, 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.” This is a tricky situation: your student has been living on their own all semester without any curfew (other than what they deem appropriate), whereas you may want them home by a certain time. How you navigate this will be important.
Where and how they spend their time – there can be hurt feelings if family members – especially younger siblings – feel like their Deac wants to spend more time with their friends than their 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 room has been substantially changed while they were away, it can cause conflict. This can feel even more salient now that your Deac will be home for an extended period of time.
Before your Deac comes home, it might be helpful to acknowledge these changes and/or navigate any ground rules you expect them to abide by now that they are home again. 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.
To contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.
If Your Student Has a Problem
One of the best ways parents/families can help their students is to let them solve their own problems. Use the Stop, Drop, and Roll method when your student contacts you with a problem. The flyer also lists contact information for serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.
Orientation 2020 slide shows
Parent and family Orientation sessions are available online.