A Message from Mike Loomis, Dean of Student Development
"There is nothing to do around here, especially on the weekends!" Have you heard your student make this or a similar comment regarding their college experience? After nearly 20 years of work in student development, I must say that this is a common cry among college students, including those at Geneva. But while I often hear that there is nothing for students to do at Geneva, what I see tells a very different story.
A few weeks ago, I watched our tired and tattered staff limp off campus to lead students in various activities over the spring break: there were five different mission trips, members of the resident advisor staff went to San Diego, a resident director took five students to Africa, and one group attended the Pisgah Program′s annual canoe trip to the Florida Everglades. Add to that a recent survey that revealed the number of opportunities available to Geneva students. These include eight weekly community service opportunities; nine intramural sports; over 30 weekly Bible studies and prayer groups; over 30 different student clubs; 50 outdoor education trips; over 200 residence hall activities each semester; and educational programs on career preparation and calling, multi-ethnic education, health issues and more.
All these opportunities are great, but they inevitably contribute to the second most common phrase utter by the contemporary college students, which is, "I am so busy." And it′s true. In addition to the 12 to 18 credits the average student carries, there is chapel, often a part-time job, church, internships and one or more of the activities and events listed above.
So how can you help your student stay connected and get involved without getting overwhelmed? Priorities and planning. Towards the end of last summer, I had a conversation with my daughter about her goals and dreams for her last few years of school. "What do you want to get out of this experience?" I asked her. "How can we help to make this the best possible learning and growing experience?" Essentially, I let her dream a little, share her ideas and then set some goals.
You see, college is a lot like a buffet - sometimes there are so many options that we either overeat or don′t know where to start. The best thing you can do to help your son/daughter is to 1) encourage him/her to get connected with their residence hall floor, a ministry, a leadership position, a student organization, a sport, a group of friends, and one or two things they can call their own and that will help to positively shape their Geneva experience; 2) familiarize yourself with the various opportunities that Geneva offers (the website is a great resource); and 3) talk with your student about his/her goals and plans to maximize the Geneva experience, and strategize about the best time to take on leadership roles, study-abroad opportunities, community service, internships, etc.
Today′s college students have so many opportunities for involvement that they can become overwhelmed and give in to the default statement, "there is nothing to do around here!" However, with a little encouragement and prayer, they can formulate a transformational college experience that will be life changing. That is the outcome we are hoping for and praying for here at Geneva College.