Meet the Parents
Being the parent of a college student is rough. You have to know when to be there and when to step back and let your student figure things out for themselves. As a parent of a new college student, it’s helpful to learn from those who have already gone through the ups and downs of college with their children.
We have asked three mothers of former Cloud students to share their experiences. Meet Jennifer, Nancy, and Ruth.
Jennifer is the parent of an elementary education student that attended Cloud from 2006-2008 from Lyons, KS. While at Cloud her daughter was involved as a student ambassador.
Nancy is the parent of a 2006 graduate in athletic training from Minden, NE. Her daughter participated in volleyball and track during her time at Cloud.
Ruth is the parent of a 2008 graduate in business from Topeka, KS. Her son transferred from Pittsburg State University to play basketball at Cloud. He was also involved on campus as a student ambassador.
How is college different today than for your generation?
Jennifer: I don’t really see any distinct differences between the 80s and now. Being a college student is a difficult job and there are so many factors that can contribute to a student’s success. I feel very strongly that the school and the family are still teams that have to work together. Kids can’t just be thrown out there on their own. The world is a different place than it used to be. There seems to be so much more violence and negative influence in our children’s’ lives.
Ruth: We went to school back in the dark ages. Everything back then was pen and paper, now with the advances in technology everything is done on computers.
What was the biggest adjustment for you and your child?
Jennifer: The biggest adjustment for me as a parent was the letting go. Leaving my daughter at the dorms was one of the most difficult moments in my life. She was out of my protective reach. The biggest adjustment for her was the independence and accountability that comes with being thrust into adulthood.
Nancy: The distance. She was now two hours away and it was very different not having her at home. Cloud did a great job helping her adjust, through her participation in sports and the host family program, she was able to meet a lot of great people and find where she fit in.
Ruth: I have always been right there for them and a protective parent. It was hard not having access to them if they needed support.
Was it hard for you to adjust to your child’s new freedom?
Jennifer: It was very difficult for me. She was on her own. I was no longer able to monitor her whereabouts, her progress in school, who she was hanging around with, who her roommates were and the possible influences that college could bring to her life. She embraced it, I feared it.
Nancy: I didn’t really worry at all, we raised her with good morals and Cloud was a much smaller college than I attended. Volleyball and track kept her busy and out of trouble.
Ruth: Yes, it is so different from when I went to college. They have access to so many more things, both good and bad.
Which part of your child’s experience has been the most difficult?
Jennifer: When she failed her first semester at school. I could see it coming but she was independent and I knew she would have to fall before she could get back up on her feet and be stronger. That was the most difficult thing for me. I am very proud to say that because of the mentors and the staff at Cloud and her renewed sense of priority she has since become very successful.
Nancy: Just being that far away from home. On the first day of classes she called home and was somewhat overwhelmed. I encouraged her to go talk to her advisor and from then on she never had any problems. She was always excited about being at Cloud.
Ruth: The fact that they have the ability to drop classes on their own. My sons were more focused on their social lives rather than their academics.
Did your child experience homesickness? How was Cloud as a home away from home for them?
Jennifer: In the beginning she came home every weekend so I think she did experience homesickness. But as relationships began to develop with friends and the staff at Cloud (she was an ambassador and worked at the college) her visits home became less frequent. I could feel her comfort level and confidence growing with each semester. Cloud became her new family. She felt safe there and never, ever felt like a social security number or an enrollment statistic. The people she worked with have impacted her life forever. Cloud has offered her safety, security, guidance, friendships, care, and compassion.
Nancy: Not really, she stayed very active with sports and activities. There was always a friendly face on campus. She absolutely loved her coaches and teammates.
Ruth: He did when he first went to Pittsburg State University, by the time he transferred to Cloud he was a little more seasoned and used to being on his own. I remember him struggling with grocery shopping and the little things that I usually took care of when he first moved to college. Since he played basketball, he didn’t have many opportunities to come home throughout the season. His teammates and friends gave him the support and social life he needed.
Did your child work during college?
Jennifer: Yes, she worked as an ambassador for the school in the Admissions office. She gave tours to students and did additional office tasks.
Ruth: While in school during the year he just worked in the Admissions Office as a student ambassador. His other full-time job was school and basketball.
What’s your advice for parents with children getting ready for college?
Jennifer: Be involved with your child. Share in the experience as often as possible but not in a smothering way. Encourage them to get involved in as many activities as possible to truly appreciate college. Cloud is a great start for kids. It is small, safe, and allows the students to experience adulthood but provides them with a safety net when needed. I would also advise campus housing. She was a part of the school. She wasn’t just a student that went to campus and left at the end of class. I would recommend Cloud to every parent that I know.
Nancy: Pray. Reinforce what you taught them and be supportive of what they are doing. Keep in touch and hope that your parenting was everything that they needed it to be. Love them and be happy for them.
Ruth: Train them ahead of time. Acclimate them to being on their own. Make sure they are able to do the things that they need to do, like cooking and laundry.
As a parent it is very difficult to find that new balance between parenting and being a confidant for your child. At Cloud we strive to help make this an easy transition for you and your son or daughter.