Back to school and back to college – that time of year that can make a parent secretly ecstatic or hopelessly tearful. I happen to fit into the tearful category. Not that I ever actually shed tears when the school bus pulled away with my children. However, kids leaving the nest; going off to college is another story. I will admit that I have cried on the journey back home after settling each of my children into their college dorms. Sending our children off to embark upon college life is a milestone that I think we can never be totally prepared for. It’s bittersweet for sure. We want our children to spread their wings, but we may not be entirely ready ourselves when the reality hits us.
Tears aside, how can we help our children to prepare for a whole new way of life? Will all of those manners and guidelines for good living we taught our growing children go out the window when they are living miles and miles away from us? We certainly hope and pray not. Let’s take a look at some basic college etiquette that we can help to instill in our budding young adults.
We’ll start with dorm living. Major change is in store for our children who leave the comforts of home, to live in a fairly small room, usually with a complete stranger their freshman year. Although they may think that their new lifestyle will be a continuous slumber party, they may discover some significant challenges that can become very stressful without a basic plan for dorm survival. Talking about the upcoming changes with our children and encouraging them to use common sense practices and etiquette can help to transform their stresses into a happier college life.
Communication is crucial. Obviously, they will want to talk things over with their room-mate regarding sleep and study habits. One may be a night owl while the other may value their sleep. Colleges usually try to pair up students with other like-minded students, but this is not always the case. A book light comes in handy for late night studying. Head phones are critical too. Not hitting the alarm clock snooze button is exercising a dose of common courtesy if your room-mate is trying to sleep. Showing consideration by keeping the dorm as tidy as possible translates to less clutter and a happier room-mate. Giving space to a room-mate by leaving the room when they are engrossed in a serious phone call will be appreciated and most-likely reciprocated. Being sure to carry the room key at all times will prevent your room-mate the annoyance of having to constantly unlock the door. Obviously, the room-mate’s belongings should never be borrowed or used without permission. No snooping either – respect is paramount for a peaceful and happy relationship.
What about professors and classes? First impressions speak volumes at college. Our children are responsible for establishing a level of respect with their professors, right from the start. As well, expectations from college professors are very different from high school teachers. Therefore, the need to remember they are expected to rise to a new level of responsibility. They won’t be given slack for missed assignments, classes, and tardiness. No more notes of excuse from Mommy!
Professors should always be shown respect and addressed properly. No first name basis unless that is what the professor prefers.
We need to embed into our children the necessity for common courtesy, respect, and decency to spill over from home to college life and beyond. With our prayers, guidance and their fine efforts, the future looks very promising!
Gracious Living column – Canticle magazine – (September/October issue from a previous year) - Campus Courtesy
Copyright 2012 Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle