The parent’s dilemma

While sitting in my favorite study place a few years ago, a campus coffee shop, I overheard one side of a phone conversation between a student and a parent.  I wasn’t trying to listen in, but the student’s volume and intensity made it unavoidable.  The young man had apparently overdrawn his bank account and a […]

Every good-bye is different

I was leading a panel discussion in front of about 200 parents of incoming freshman students.  The mood in the room ranged from bored (it had already been a long orientation day for them) to highly anxious.  The topic of the moment was “Move-in day” and one of the parents on the panel had just […]

Ready, set, prepare–for college

Your son or daughter is about to leave for college.  At some point, you will say “Good-bye” and drive away.  You have said good-bye to your child before, but probably not on this scale.  You said, “Good-bye and call if you need to,” the first time they left the safe confines of your house to […]

Leaving your child at college

I knew I had to turn around and walk away.  The time had come.  I could have prolonged the moment.  I could have hung around to be helpful or supportive or something, but I knew it would just be delaying the inevitable.  I knew the time had come to say good-bye, to entrust my child […]

It’s not about the t-shirt

Some time back I was sitting at one of my favorite spots for getting serious work done, the Pancake House, coffee at my fingertips, papers spread across the table in my booth.  As I wrote, I was aware of a conversation going on between two college women in the booth behind me.  I was not […]

Getting the right kind of help

When the firecracker blew up in my hand, I knew I needed help.  Steve and I had been playing in his back yard doing what most 11 year-old boys do when unsupervised; taking unnecessary risks.  We were lighting firecrackers, holding them until the fuse burned down a bit, then throwing them.  That’s fine as long […]

Keeping the wheels on

Students (and parents) often see the college experience as a time for finding answers.  Students come with the idea that questions yield answers, and once an answer is found, it’s time to move on to the next question.  Many classes, for example, emphasize the student mastering certain material so that the student can then provide […]

The time of your life

Most students hope that when they look back on their time at the university they will be able to say, “Those were the best days of my life.”  Their hope is that they will reflect on their university experience as four years of productive academic work, boisterous times with good friends, exciting discoveries about their […]