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.
Director, First-Year Experience
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
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
“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
Stevens noted the a child coming home from
college is not the same person who left home last summer. Brown
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
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,”
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.”
Class of 2013
All Bonaventure Reads
book chosen for 2010-2011
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
“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.”
Class of 2013