Who’s Going to Wake Me Up?

by Jeff C. Johnson

College student with backpack

I could hear laughing when I hit the “accept” button and picked up Tommy’s call on my mobile phone.

He said, by way of introduction, “You aren’t going to believe this one! Talking about college life last night, she [his college-bound daughter] asked me, ‘Dad, who’s going to wake me up in the morning!’”

Getting ready for college is an important part of the process for youngsters making that life transition, and they should bear much of the responsibility for it. It’s all part of the education.

But it’s also important that parents and other interested adults help the student understand what is expected of them. It can’t just begin and end with, “Pack your stuff, and we will help you move into the dorm.” There needs to be ongoing discussion, during which expectations are set and progress is regularly appraised.

Class schedules, grades, test results, and social activities should be talked about thoroughly in the months and years leading up to the beginning of the college experience. Some top students in high school don’t actually know how to study because they’ve never had to really work that hard to learn the material or score well on examinations.

There should definitely be a conversation about the cost and the value of higher education (see my previous post). Sometimes things that are “free” are viewed as not that valuable. If you are paying for some or all of your student’s education, emphasize the cost, the savings sacrifice, and the effort it took to raise a child and then send them to college, or there’s a chance they won’t be appreciated or prove fully advantageous to the student.

In addition to teaching your student how to maximize the college experience, it’s important to help him or her understand the social side and the personal growth that college life can bring.

And pack an alarm clock.