Every year in late August/early September for the past 20 years or so, I have watched parents drop their children off at college. The range of emotions and reactions I observe is vast, as you can imagine. Whether a mom or dad is inconsolable or ecstatic or both at the same time, there’s one thing that unites them all – their sense that change is happening right before their eyes. And the thing about change that provokes such strong emotions is that we can’t predict the future. No matter how hard we try, we can’t control the coming days, weeks, and months. We have no idea what they will bring to our children or to us.
Many parents have focused so exclusively on the change for their children that they have dramatically neglected themselves. Planning next steps for yourself can ease the pain and help you create an environment of joyful anticipation for you and your children. You can model for them renewed discovery of yourself as they are exploring themselves!
For many years, as a dean at three Ivy League colleges and now as an AVP at a university with an extraordinary mission, I have had a front row seat to the obstacles to success that college students and their parents confront every year. Even at so-called elite, highly selective colleges such as Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, where I spent some of my career, students struggle on a daily basis to remain healthy, happy, grounded, and to stay in school. I am dedicated to helping them.