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Help for Wildcat Parents
Congratulations and welcome to the Wildcat family!
The freshman year can be exciting and daunting at the same time, for both students and the parent. Traditional college students, aged 18-22 years, experience a “volitional” period of development known as Emerging Adulthood. During this time, students will experience notable change and make choices in their social, emotional, and educational journeys that will affect them for years to come. I want to make four suggestions to help parents aid students during this important first year at LCU.
First, your relationship with your student is important! A healthy parent-student relationship supports a student’s overall positive adjustment to the new experience of college. The parental relationship can also supply a safe space to “psychologically ‘refuel’ in times of stress.” It is natural for freshmen to miss home, their families, and their friends. Write letters (or emails) and send care packages to let them know you are thinking about and praying for them.
Second, encourage your student to develop relationships on campus. Specifically, encourage them to introduce themselves to their professors and to make appointments with them when needed. Also, encourage them to engage in a peer group and perhaps join any of the university-sponsored clubs. Staying on campus for the weekends is a wonderful time for new friends to spend time together.
Third, encourage your student to manage time wisely. Students need to schedule time for study, sleep, and exercise. If students enroll in 15 credit hours, then they should expect to study an additional 30 hours per week. Exercise is positively correlated with belongingness and overall well-being in freshmen. Your student will have access to the Louisiana Athletic Club on the campus of LCU, and the Parrish-Fuller Fitness trail is also available for their use. Coursework can be mentally draining; exercise is a fantastic way for students to re-set.
Lastly, encourage your student to have grace, for themselves, and grace for their new friends. Freshman year is a time of change; keeping an attitude of self-compassion is important. Also realizing that every other freshman is experiencing a similar time of change helps students to know they are not alone in this experience at LCU.
Parents, you are essential to the success of your students. Their journey from adolescent to self-reliant adult can be challenging, but you are not alone either. Feel free to reach out with questions about being a Wildcat parent at any time.