Transition to college
Going to college is not only about learning and growing socially, but also about becoming more independent. For many students this is their first time living independently. Your student may be dealing with concerns about roommates, managing money, and personal safety. Below are some questions (and some suggestions) to have with your student to help gauge his/her involvement:
How are you adapting to living on your own? A recent trend in higher education finds more students entering the residence halls, or off-campus apartments, having never before shared a bedroom. Acclimating to a new living environment and negotiating boundaries with a roommate can be stressful. Preferences for seemingly small things like bed times and room temperature can be difficult to discuss with a roommate at first; students who avoid such conversations often end up feeling frustrated with their living experience. Encouraging your student to be proactive in these discussions will not only help him/her get to know his/her roommate, but also feel more at ease in his/her new home.
To this end, Resident Assistants (RA) and Community Assistants (CA), fellow students trained and dedicated to doing all they can to ensure your student has a positive, fulfilling experience at Penn College, are a peer resource that can be useful in facilitating these types of discussions. Encouraging your student to take advantage of these individuals as means to assist in facilitating open, honest, constructive communication with his/her roommate(s) will go a long way toward establishing a positive living environment.
Do you get along with your roommate? While it often occurs, there is no expectation that your student and his/her roommate(s) establish a friendship. However, there is the expectation that all Penn College students treat one another with mutual respect. Should your student share anxieties, concerns, and/or frustrations regarding his/her living situation with you, yet are hesitant to address these matters with his/her roommate(s), please encourage your student to reach out to a RA or CA for assistance. While we are happy to entertain calls of concern from parents and/or guardians, in order to be of proper assistance to your student, your student is who we truly need to hear from.
How are you doing managing your money? Money management is a common issue for new students; that refund check may have looked pretty big on August 19, but it goes fast without conscious and strategic planning. This can be particularly challenging if this is the first time your student has been expected to track finances independently. Encouraging your student to live within means, avoid the use of credit, and not working more than his/her study schedule can afford can be useful tips you can offer.
Are you using smart personal safety practices? Safety is very much a matter of exercising good judgment and making sound choices. Students can protect themselves in simple ways: locking apartment door, traveling in groups, and knowing who they are spending time with are examples you can suggest. The Residence Hall Security Officers and Penn College Police are available to students whenever they feel uncertain or unsafe, or even if they just have a question.
Our Student Affairs staff takes great pride in working with our students to ensure they succeed; sometimes it’s just a matter of gaining the confidence to pick up the phone, send an e-mail or stop by an office to ask for guidance. Contact information and the wide variety of services we offer to assist our students are readily available by viewing the websites below. We hope that you will encourage your student to reach out to us!