Welcoming Your Student Back Home - Blog
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Welcoming Your Student Back Home

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Welcoming Your Student Back Home

While the weather in Western PA would try and tell us otherwise, summer is upon us in the world of higher education.  That means that in the next few weeks your student will be making their way home for the first time in a while and will be transitioning back home, which is not always the easiest for anyone.  It is my hope in this short article to give some helpful tips for welcoming your student home for the summer and being able to engage and encourage them in positive ways.

               For some of you welcoming home upperclassman you know what to expect as summer approaches and for others this will be a first-time experience.  Some students will be eager to find their way home after a long semester and welcome familiar people and rhythms, while other students will be struggling to transition home from a place that they love and saying goodbye to friends for a significant amount of time.  As parents it is helpful to meet your student where they are and figure out a healthy balance as they transition home for the summer.  While it can be challenging to see your children as adults, that is what they are slowly becoming, and college has offered them opportunities for independence in ways they probably did not experience in high school.  My biggest encouragement would be to engage your student with open conversations and an open mind.  While it may be uncomfortable, plan a time to talk with your student shortly after they get home about how they navigated at college, helpful questions about the expectations you have for them as they enter back into your home, and finding a common ground that allows for them to continue to operate out of their independence while also honoring your expectations for them.  Trust me, having these conversations at the onset of the summer will save you from hassle and arguments.

               As I mentioned earlier, transitioning home can be challenging for you and your student.  They just spent the last eight months in an intentional community learning and growing alongside some of their closest friends; losing that for a time is hard.  Your student may be discouraged, feeling lonely, and not knowing how to re-engage back home.  My encouragement is to check-in with your students, see how they are doing, ask them intentional questions about what they may be missing from college or what they hope to do over their summer.  It is so crucial that students find community and activities at home that are like those they had at school.  Encourage them to get involved in a local young adult’s ministry, Bible study, or church.  Encourage them to seek out a mentor while they are at home, someone who can check in with them and help them navigate life back at home.  Encourage them to keep contact with friends and mentors from Geneva over the summer who can help make the transition more manageable.  Remember to give opportunities for your student to engage in things you know they love.  Plan a trip to their favorite summer spot, make familiar meals, invite friends and family over that will help your student adjust more easily.

               If you can remember from last months article, being intentional goes a long way.  By asking a few good questions to your student you can do wonders in making sure their transition home is smooth and restful for them.  No matter how your student is coming home to you, know that they care for you, even when things can seem rocky, and that they just want to receive respect and freedom in the ways they experienced it in college.  It’s okay to set boundaries but meeting them halfway will do wonders.  Enjoy the summer and the gift of having your student back home, we will surely be missing them!

-John Wilhelm, Director of Campus Ministries