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Discuss issues regarding alcohol and drug abuse and misuse, sex and safety.
Feel free (perhaps for the first or the final time before they leave for college) to make your wishes known to your student and offer parameters for experimentation. Communicate clearly that you will not judge them in this newfound independence for making mistakes and that they can always come to you for assistance, guidance, and support. Remember to live by your promises both when outlining consequences for actions and offering support.
Prepare your student to be successful by discussing the Counseling Center, Health Services, the Wellness Center, and Plymouth Academic Support Services (PASS) and the resources available to them. Information regarding any learning challenges or mental health or physical health issues from your child’s past might be disclosed to these offices to optimize planning for needed services. We understand how a student may want to leave labels or diagnoses behind them as they enter a new environment in which they can reinvent themselves. We also have seen how a student’s or family’s failure to disclose has led to feelings of frustration and isolation. Our aim is to pave the way to your student’s success, and we will work confidentially and respectfully to co-create a positive, supportive experience. Students should know that they have responsibilities in the college classroom and community including coming prepared to class, understanding financial responsibilities, becoming a self-advocate, and being a respectful member of the community.
Do not be surprised if your student acts distant or remarkably antagonistic in the last weeks of living at home. Your child may be unconsciously attempting to make the separation easier for themselves and for the family by acting in unlikable ways. Keep an open mind and know that by Thanksgiving time, you and your student will most likely have a happy reunion.