Smithfield, R.I. - Lots of teary eyes and long goodbyes on college campuses this week, as parents send new college freshmen off on their own for the first time. Bryant University psychology professor, and first-year transition expert Laurie Hazard, says letting go may be the hardest part of the experience for parents, but it's also the most important and helpful thing they can do.
"Resist meddling, because colleges and universities have services designed to help students with the transition. So, I always say to the parents of my students, 'Let the experts do their jobs.'"
College represents a shift when students must become responsible for managing their own time and responsibilities, according to Hazard. When your freshman does phone, text, or email home with a problem, she advises resisting the temptation of solving the problem for them. Yet, there are ways to help.
"Give them kind-of a list of things to do and then check back with you, so they can let you know whether they were successful accomplishing solving the problem on their own."
Or course, not all students will make a call to a parent for help. Hazard says learning to ask is also part of the learning curve as students grow out of the 'teenage mentality.'
"Either that they know it all or, if they don't know it all, there's too much adolescent bravado to ask for help. And they should try to possess the humility and be able to ask for help."
As far as what kinds of problems first-year students commonly face, Hazard says procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome.