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Want to be a secondary school teacher?Dear Parents:

Doesn’t it seem as if it were just yesterday? Yes, I mean move-in day, that lovely, sunny day last August when, amidst all the boxes and bags, the TVs, the refrigerators and the “stuff,” your emotions were running high as you helped your then new-SBU freshman move in, get settled and begin a new life chapter. Yet, in almost a blink of an eye, it’s over. Freshman year is now a page in your son or daughter’s life history.

As I talk with our students, they tell me many things…how fast it went, how great it was, how hard it was, what fun they had…and, oh, yes, how much they have learned and how much they have changed.

Your child’s first year of college has likely been filled with challenges and successes. There have been trying moments and triumphs. As summer approaches, be ready for yet another transition. The first summer home may be yet another challenge for all in your family as your newly-independent college student re-enters the day-to-day family life.

I hope your son or daughter has had a great year becoming a Bonnie and that the First-Year Experience was a catalyst for growth and support. We are confident that your sophomore student will be ready for next year’s new challenges.

Along with all of us at SBU, I wish you a wonderful summer and look forward to welcoming your student back in August for a great second-year experience.

Nancy Casey
Director, First-Year Experience


Adjusting to life back home

Adjusting to life at St. Bonaventure may have been hard for some, but adjusting back to life at home may be even more difficult.

Your child has been living independently for about 9 months. This new-found independence, while a welcomed step to adulthood, may lead to some bumps in the transition to life back home.

“A lot of the issues that happen can be addressed by open communication,” said Chris Brown, coordinator for residential education and housing. “Parents talk about their expectations and what they’re looking for from their son or daughter but I think it’s also fair for the student to speak his or her thoughts should there be disagreements. To say ‘this has been my experience, this is what I’m used to, can we compromise?’ Let them get a good night’s sleep. The first night or two home should be a chance to take a deep breath and relax,” says Brown. Finals are stressful.

However, Brown cautions parents not to allow their students to rest too much.

“Make sure they don’t become couch potatoes,” Brown said. He urges parents to make sure the relaxation break doesn’t last too long and that their student stays active over the summer.

When students first return home, the “old” ways and the “new” ways may collide a little. Brown says communication is important to deal with any collision.

According to Brown, to avoid possible tension, you might want to consider opening discussion on expectations, with you and your child each sharing your thoughts.

John Stevens, a business professor and director of the MBA program, had to go through that transition with both of his children.

“When my son came home that first summer, we had to be very aware of the fact that we had to stop asking ‘Where are you going? What time you going to be in?’” Stevens said. “And we just said to him ‘We don’t care where you go, I mean we do care, but it’s up to you. We don’t care how long you’re out but just give us an idea because as your parents, if you say you’re going to be home at a certain time we won’t worry till that time. Then we’ll start worrying.’”

Stevens noted the a child coming home from college is not the same person who left home last summer. Brown agrees.

One mother of a first-year student is expecting to see that independence when her daughter arrives home.

“The first week, we’ll probably be butting heads,” said Maryann O’Rourke, mother of freshman Meaghan O’Rourke. “I expect everything to be all over the place and she will be very independent.”
The biggest adjustment she is expecting is having to deal with her daughter as a young adult.

“I have to adjust to her having more freedom and staying out later,” O’Rourke said. “Letting go will be the hardest.”

This is where most parents and students seem to come into conflict. Former Student Government Association President Sabrina Maddeaux experienced it firsthand.

“Sometimes it’s a little hard to adjust from being completely on your own at the university to being around your parents again,” said Maddeaux, a political science major. “At the university it’s up to you when you clean and how much you clean. At home your parents can be back to, ‘clean your room every day’ or something like that. And also, it’s just getting back to living outside the university environment.”

For some, Maddeaux warns, adjusting back to home life can be tricky. But after a little while, both students and parents will adjust.

“It’s not going to be quite the same as living at school because you are back with your parents and they are going to have certain expectations of you and certain rules you are going to have to follow and get used to again,” Maddeaux said.

But the adjustment really does not have to be that hard; the common ground for both parents and students is respect for each other.

“Students need faith, confidence, and trust from their parents that they can make good decisions,” Stevens said. “I think that if a student has gone away for a year, has been at school for his freshman year and comes back and you start telling him what to wear, you start telling him what time to come in, what to eat or whatever, it’s like telling him that ‘I don’t trust you, you can’t make good decisions, I have to hold your hand,’ and students typically rebel against that.”

Stevens urges parents to treat their children as adults when they return. He has been through it with both his 23-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter.

Stevens noted that if both parents and students work together the first summer to make that adjustment as trouble free as possible, there is a reward.

“Each year it became easier because we were realizing more and more that they were doing well on their own, they were making progress,” Stevens said.

After the adjustment to being back home takes place, Brown said to be wary of something you may not have seen before: “school sickness.”

Throughout their years at college, students are torn between their life at home and their life at school, so students may begin to miss St. Bonaventure and the friends they have made here, Brown said.
To keep school sickness in check, students should keep in contact with their SBU friends as well as their friends at home.

“Make sure you’re spending some time reconnecting with your friends from home so that you don’t lose those close friendships you had from high school,” Brown said. “Another is to make sure you’re staying in touch with friends from college so that you stay excited to come back.”

-Megan O’Donnell
Class of 2013


All Bonaventure Reads book chosen for 2010-2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksFew students may recognize the name Henrietta Lacks, but it is very possible that her legacy has touched all their lives in some way.

When Lacks died of cancer in 1951, scientists had already discovered that her cells multiplied at an incredible rate and, seemingly, endlessly. Scientists used these cells, known as HeLa in the scientific community, to develop the polio vaccine, better understand several diseases and find advances in cloning, among other studies. Meanwhile, her family remained unaware that her cells had been taken.

Rebecca Skloot tells Lacks’ story in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” the All Bonaventure Reads book for 2010.

“It is nonfiction that at times reads like a novel,” said Jean Ehman, director of the Teaching and Learning Center and chair of the committee that selected the book. “There are racial implications, there are scientific implications, cures for a lot of different diseases, a lot of questions that we can ask the freshmen to think about and talk about as they’re gearing up to collegiate-level studies.”

In the All Bonaventure Reads program, all freshmen read a book that is then used in University 101 classes. Last year, freshmen read “Listening Is an Act of Love” edited by Dave Isay.

Ehman sees many ways to tie “The Immortal Life” into University 101 classes next semester.

“There’s a whole lesson in here about how to do qualitative research, and I think that most majors have to do some kind of research. For those who are not into the numerical research so much, (The Immortal Life) is a beautiful lesson in qualitative research,” Ehman said.

Ehman is helping to write a reader’s guide for the freshmen, and is looking for all the ways the book can be applied to college life.

“Even things like creating timelines, that could be a good study skill,” Ehman said. “It’s another way to learn the material.”

The book will also be tied in with the All Bonaventure Views movie-viewing program. Committee members plan to show a selection of movies from the 1950s, when Lacks was alive.

Ehman hopes to bring Skloot to campus in the fall. All four of the past All Bonaventure Reads authors have come to campus to speak.

“One of Henrietta’s granddaughters is getting her master’s in psychology in May,” Ehman said. “How her children have spun out, how her cells have spun off, I’m hoping that we’ll intrigue a lot of the students with it.”

-Emily West
Class of 2013


Upcoming events on campus include:

Friday-Wednesday, 5/7-12 - Final Exams
Monday, 8/30 - First Day of Classes for fall 2010 semester


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