All across America, students have been waiting eagerly to start college or return to the campuses they love. Some of them are lucky enough to have their schools welcome them to campus. But as soon as students are starting to arrive, some of them have wasted no time in making the mistake of heading off to parties on or off campus.
The stories are already in the news. According to a story in the Ohio Sentinel-Tribune, a group of students at Bowling Green State are facing disciplinary action, and possible expulsion, after attending a party where more than 10 students gathered. And the Patch in Fairfield County, CT, reports that a group of students at Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport could be facing expulsions and $100 fines because they attended a party off campus.
Kids Will Be Kids, But . . .
Parents, and just about all adults, feel bad for college-age students right now. Kids have been through a lot, after all. Some have been stuck taking classes at home. Others have been in psychological limbo as they wondered whether or not their schools would open at all.
Some of those students may be very relieved to be heading back to campus, where they can blow off steam in the company of other students. Many parents, not surprisingly, want their kids to head back to campus and enjoy themselves.
But even the most relieved and enlightened parents should stop and consider just how much is at risk if their children do not obey college rules and do not behave responsibly.
The most troubling consideration is, they and other students could get sick – possibly extremely sick. But irresponsible behavior on the part of only a few students can have severe additional consequences. An entire campus could be closed down or revert to all-online learning, harming other students’ prospects for the academic year.
It Is Time for a Hard Conversation
As I write this post, I need to state that I have always extended a lot of trust toward my daughter, who has just completed graduate school. If she were a few years younger and I were sending her back to college, I think I would trust her enough to know what to do, and how to behave, upon getting back to campus.
Yes, that is how I would think – I trust my daughter and I am sure she would do the right thing. I wouldn’t want to say a word.
But if I thought that way, I would be making a serious mistake. And to avoid making that mistake, I would not only have a hard talk with her if she were an undergraduate, I would ask her to pledge to obey all campus rules and strictures against risky behavior. She would probably get angry with me, and that would be too bad. But it would be besides the point. There are times when a parent needs to act like a parent, after all. And the risks of not doing that are, let us face it, far too great today.
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