Moving into residence will be a new and exciting experience for both you and your student. On top of balancing their school work they will also need to balance meeting deadlines, doing laundry, cleaning up, eating well, making time for friends and keeping up with residence activities. During this time your student will begin to develop a stronger sense of independence. While each student adjusts to this change in different ways, your role is to assist in making their transition as smooth as possible, while allowing them the opportunity to grow.
Supporting Your Student Before Moving In
Developing a Sense of Independence
Allow your student to be as involved as possible with the pre-university preparations. Ask them to read over residence policies and procedures, important dates, Move In information etc. Your student is responsible for becoming familiar with this information, and allowing them to do so will facilitate and foster their independence. Throughout the year the Residence Life Team will remind them of any important dates.
Move-in Day can be both exciting and stressful for your student and they will experience a whirlwind of emotions. It can be a bittersweet day for families as well. Even the most well prepared students may still be unsure as to what to expect once they have settled in. Prior to Move in Day, create a plan of action with your student. Be sure to discuss with your student what the day will entail, when you are leaving etc. and assure them that if something does not go according to plan everything will be alright. Encourage them to get involved in Orientation Week events. For Move-In Dates, Procedures and Tips on What to Bring check out: http://studenthousing.info.yorku.ca/undergrad/keele-move-in-information/
Supporting Your Student During the Year
The Student Life Cycle
The Student Cycle identifies important parts of the year where most students encounter changes in mood and stress. Your student may experience homesickness after Thanksgiving or the Holiday break, and will be more stressed during midterms in October/February or final exams in December/April. During these times your student may turn to you for encouragement and motivation. Be sure to take the time to talk with your student offering moral support and assuring them that you are there to listen.
Staying in Touch
There are several ways for parents and families to stay in touch with their students living in residence. Remember that your student is balancing a busy lifestyle and may have changes in communication patterns. It is often a good idea to arrange with students when and how often you will communicate as they adjust to their busy schedules. What you can do for your students in residence:
- Stay in touch via phone, text, social media or email
- Keep them in the loop with family and community news (i.e. sending them pictures, etc.)
- Send them surprise gifts (i.e. care kits)
- Make a trip to visit them if possible
- Show interest in the activities and events in and out of Residence that they are excited or involved in
Adjusting to Changes in Communication
As the year progresses it is normal for students to move more towards becoming independent. Your student may not communicate with you as often as they used to, and may become more confident with making their own decisions things pertaining to their social lives, academics, etc. During this time offer your support and guidance, but allow them the chance to make their own decisions. Sometimes parents and families may not hear from their students for a period, almost always because they are busy with their studies and keeping up with their busy lives. If you are having trouble connecting with your student and are concerned, please contact Security Services (416-650-8000) and they can assist in contacting your student to have them contact you. Due to confidentiality reasons, Residence Life Staff are not able to disclose any information about the whereabouts of your student, regardless of age.
Learning to Live as an Adult
Within residence, the Residence Life Staff treat all students like adults, giving them the freedom to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Throughout the year, your student will learn important skills pertaining to living alone and as they continue to grow and mature, will develop the confidence to make their own decisions. If your student discloses to you about a frustrating situation with a roommate or neighbor, or a problem within residence, encourage them to speak with their Don or Residence Life Coordinator. These staff are trained in effective conflict mediation and make it their goal to ensure that your student is as comfortable as possible in residence. Due to confidentiality restrictions, Residence Life Staff are unable to disclose information about situations involving your student, and often will encourage your student to deal with the situation directly. This serves as a valuable learning experience for your student and they will be able to gain the skills required for living in a communal environment.