How do I react when those calls come?
Leslie Wan, parent of a Class of 2010 Tiger, shares her advice for handling student calls home

No matter how prepared for college or resourceful you feel your student is, you are going to get calls. These will cause you stress if you don’t understand in advance that these calls, too, shall pass.

The First Call

Often the first call will be lamenting that they haven’t made friends or are homesick. Both of those can be because they miss the family and the routine of the family.

There was comfort in friends they had spent years with, and making new ones is an effort. Making new friends requires them to rediscover who they are and what their interests are now, instead of the comfortable ebb and flow of friends and activities of the past. In truth, both of these are an integral part of a process that will follow them throughout their lives and career. What better time to experience this than when surrounded by a cadre of new students undergoing the same dilemma?

The Next Call

This could be that the food is not edible or is distasteful. Remember, our children are born with dramatic tendencies and haven’t foraged for food in our homes. This is the age- old complaint of “There is nothing to eat in this house” on a grander scale. Oh, to be back at home where food just appeared and they didn’t really have to think about it. “Healthy eating? Really? I now have to put that into my thought process?” You get the picture here. Usually, this is more about starving in a sea of possibilities. It takes energy and planning to maneuver through.

“Just wait until you live in your own apartment,” I thought. Once she did, my daughter missed Mabee Dining Hall!

More Calls

Finally you may hear, “Man, the work is hard!” “Yes, my dear daughter,” I said. “It is tough, but you are tougher!” There may be many of these calls, and they may be sprinkled in with some of the funniest calls you will ever hear. There might be moments when you are absolutely certain that these times will be the best first steps in many independent steps to come.

Don’t panic, because in as short a time as two days, most of these calls will be forgotten and your child will have begun to figure it out.

You may still want to send them a care package now and again because it makes you feel better, but not because they are hungry in a dining hall of plenty.

Leslie Wan is the parent of a Class of 2010 Tiger and a frequent contributor to parent conversations and forums.

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