Voices of Experience

General advice from parents

Tell your student:

Focus on your goal. Stay in school! Keep in touch. Email and call your parents and grandparents. JB

Be your own person. You have good values and morals. You can have fun and make these years the best years of your life—but be safe. JT

Thinking back to last September, there were so many things we told our daughter—mainly to work hard and do her personal best. My husband adds that we also told her, "No sex!" When she said goodbye to her 81-year-old grandma, she probably got the best advice of all. My mother said, "If you get in a position where you don't know what to do, just think to yourself, 'What would Grandma do?' Then you'll know what the right thing is." SS

Be safe and be careful making new friendships. And, of course, study hard. We are very proud of you. LB

I think the best advice I gave my daughter was to stick it out for a year, to commit to a year no matter what. She was very excited about going away from home and trying life on her own. I warned her that she would get homesick, even though she was anxious to grow up. She knew it and agreed. However, from what I had heard from other sources and other parents, she was right on target with her feelings. At Christmas, she was seriously feeling like she wanted to quit and go somewhere closer to home—we're six hours away in Wisconsin. Or that she wanted to marry her high school sweetheart and forget about college altogether, despite the fact that she had been working toward a college education all her life. I reminded her of her commitment to staying for a year and encouraged her to honor it. Her second semester was a major turnaround. She's loving it there and intending to continue. LS

Nothing is set in stone—roommates, classes, majors can all be changed. Go with an open mind. Work hard and you'll reap the rewards of your own efforts. JW

Advice for parents:

The psychologist who spoke with our orientation group told me, "Parents worry. Kids cope." I found this to be very true. TH

We are 300 miles away and try to see each other every six weeks. As a parent, there is no better feeling than knowing your child is where she should be. She loves the U. It was her decision to go there, and we are certain from her enthusiasm and success that she made the right decision. JB

I remember most of all the advice from the students who participated in Parent Orientation. They said, "Your son or daughter will not be the same when you next see them...." At the orientation, we parents were given a schedule of what to expect in the next six weeks, 12 weeks, etc. Things like, your student will call home lonely; will call often the first few weeks, but as the year progresses and they become part of their surroundings, you may not hear from your student for weeks—unless they need money!" JT

The most important things we told our sons were the things said during 18 years of raising them. What we told them when they left was really not that important. If we have raised them with love, compassion, and common sense, they will do well. The transition will be easy. But the most important words were, "I love you, not for what you are or do, but because you are you. We will always be here to support you." And Dad said, "Go and work too hard." BK

My final piece of advice for new parents is to put parent@umn.edu in the email address books immediately! All the updates as well as the personal responses to my various questions have been wonderful this year. SS

1) Remind your children to pay close attention to each class' syllabus. My son said he was not as attentive as he should have been at first. He was used to high school where the teachers always reminded and prodded them. Not so at the university level. Instructors are not going to remind you when papers and oral presentations are due; 2) The best advice I received last year was to pack a plastic, see-through container of Advil, Tylenol, flu and cold remedies, cough lozenges, ankle wraps. It came in handy several times throughout the year for my son, his roommate, and friends. 3) Be sure you send your son/daughter off with his/her health insurance card. My son sprained his ankle badly the third week of school at the Rec Center and they immediately shipped him off to the nearest emergency room. Luckily he had his card with him; 4) Include Parents' Weekend on your "must do" calendar. By then, they are lonesome and happy to see you; 5) Relax, they are growing up and bright enough to be there (U of MN). They will surprise you. (My son made the Dean's List this spring.) M.H.A.