Whether they’re still in the same city or not, your student is probably living away from home for the first time. It can be exciting (and a little scary) for them to figure things out for themselves. That’s why it’s important for you to stay connected with them and support your student from afar.
When someone leaves home it can create a lot of complicated emotions for the one who’s leaving and for those staying behind. Rob Lowe shares some powerful words on the subject.
Even if your student left home with encouragement and excitement and is loving every second of their college experience, it’s totally normal for them to feel homesick. Keeping in touch and helping them balance homesickness with their excitement about their new life is key to helping them master their experience and showing them that you support them.
And if they left home on a less-than-positive note, it’s time to work on repairing your relationship. Whether you send an email, call them or talk in person, reopening that connection is vital and will likely be a relief for you and your family.
Texting may have become the most common way to communicate with Generation Z, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call your student. Sure, maybe you text them daily, but speaking (or video chatting) with them (at the right time) would likely mean a lot to them. Consider calling them every once in a while to talk about their day, a tough exam or to offer reassurance. Take a sympathetic approach, but avoid being overly emotional. Offer an understanding ear and encourage them to get involved. They may respond with some more practical questions for you.
Depending on the distance, it may not be affordable for your student to take a weekend visit home, especially during their first semester when they just got settled into college. But if they can do it, a visit home may give them the comfort they need without disconnecting them from campus. If they can’t visit home, consider sending them a package of some of their favorite things. You could also research and suggest some local restaurants or activities close to them that they might try .
Let us know how you stay connected to your student while they’re at school. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.