Although many college students return home for Spring Break, some find spring break an opportunity to go on vacation with friends. The academic year is nearing its end, but there is still much work and pressure ahead: final exams, a thesis to be completed, a search for summer jobs or internships, and, for seniors, saying goodbye to their college days. College students sometimes plan a road trip with friends or, if affordable, a vacation to an island. It is a wonderful time to spend with college friends, but there are some cautions to be had. And you, as parents, can help to pave the way for a safe trip.
Whether your student stays at school, comes home, or goes on a trip with friends, this is a time for you, the parents, to impart your wisdom. It is important to do so within the context of expressing your enthusiasm about whatever he or she is doing and your desire for your student to have fun. There are ways to remind your student that Spring Break can be a time when college students can tend to let loose and that there are a few key things to keep in mind, mainly safety issues and moderation.
The most important factor, as always, is safety. If a road trip is in order, then the designated driver must always have had a good night’s sleep and be sober. It’s never a good idea to stay up most of the night and then get in the car to do the next leg of the trip. As always, remind your daughter or son to get enough sleep and not to skip meals. Perhaps the most important thing for your student to remember is MODERATION in all things. Spring Break can be a time when moderation is forgotten. Excessive drinking can lead to poor decisions and dangerous behavior. Remind your student to be careful, not to go overboard in any area. Remind her or him that saying "no" is important if friends want to do something that seems reckless. It’s okay for your student to say, “I don’t think that’s a good idea." In the end, this will be appreciated by all.
Spring break is a good time to reflect on this academic year: How has it gone so far? What are the goals for the next couple of months? It’s always a good idea to go over your expectations as well as your student’s expectations when at and away from home. It’s important to remind your student to get enough sleep, to eat three meals a day, and to have some good quality time. But these reminders need not be heavy handed. It can be hard at this age, when your student is becoming more autonomous and may need to push you away. Allow her or him the space to show you that she or he is trustworthy. It’s a tough balance for parents. These college years can be complicated times for parents as your sons and daughters are growing up, trying new things, making mistakes, learning from them, and sometimes needing distance from you. Giving your student space while, at the same time, imparting wise advice may lead to things going more smoothly than you think.
As always, remember that you can contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) at 212-854-2878 if you have concerns about your student.
Each spring, the Columbia Undergraduate Admissions Office welcomes accepted students and families to Columbia
for Days on Campus, an overnight program for students to learn more about life at Columbia. Programming for accepted families also includes a panel presentation with current Columbia parents and students (perhaps you remember attending this program in April of your student's senior year of high school).
Parent and Family Programs is looking for a small group of parent volunteers to join our student panelists here at Columbia. You'll have the opportunity to answer questions from parents of accepted students and share your knowledge of and excitement for all things Columbia! Follow the link to express your interest.
It is hard to believe but the end of the 2012-2013 academic year is almost upon us. Parent and Family Programs is committed to making sure that you have the best information possible to help your student and your family transition to summer.
In our upcoming April Family Connection Newsletter, we will offer helpful tips and words of wisdom to ensure an easy residence hall check-out. Please send Parent and Family Programs any questions you have. Chances are that another family has a simliar question! We will include all of your questions and answers in our next newsletter.