My Only Child Leaves for College!
As I prepare to move my only child into his college community, I am reflecting about all the people who have helped me guide him to become the person he is today. The values instilled in EJ throughout his childhood will now be tested as I let go and release him into a crazy college life full of potential. Hopefully, the trusted values by which our family has lived should help him make good choices.
Support For Family Values
Thankfully, EJ, a biracial and bilingual young man, can find support for our values through many campus organizations and activities.
- Faith: As a family, we discuss our religious values and how they align with each religion. On a public college campus, there are many different religious groups and churches. During the Black Student Union Parent Orientation for students and parents, EJ will be introduced to the ministers from the various churches in the community.
- Building the community: At the college orientation, EJ will meet the black professors and the various campus and community groups that are available for added community support and student counseling.
- Student networking and support: The orientation provides the opportunity to meet with black school student leaders and upper classman. By networking, EJ can select contacts and mentors he respects and trusts. He can contact these people to navigate the massive complex of school and administrative procedures.
- Connect with other campus families: We will have the opportunity to meet with other parents and their children to discuss concerns and knowledge regarding the campus community by sharing phone numbers and exchanging emails to build a network of family support.
- Accepting the challenges of being biracial: EJ will have the opportunity to meet many different students of his own cultures and other cultures. During these experiences, my son can further define and share his cultural values and identity. He will feel more connected to his college campus and the world beyond through these cultural exchanges.
- Housing: When EJ selected his student housing, he chose not to live in the black dorm nor the Latino dorm. Being of biracial descent has been a challenge for my son when identifying with one culture. His response to this challenge was to select a dorm that was not affiliated with one culture. He selected a dorm near the Latino housing unit so that he can speak to students in both of his native languages. EJ wants to be exposed to a community of many cultures and languages. Through the summer weekend for high school seniors, EJ learned that there is a mixed cultural student union that sponsors a multitude of activities.
Support the Transition
- Academics: EJ has already made contact with many university grads and has learned that he will be a small fish in a large stream when it comes to his academic preparation for a very demanding major. EJ has been warned to accept grade deflation in his Freshman year as he adjusts to his new living situation and the demands of a rigorous major.
- Next steps. As we leave for the college campus, I must live in the moment as we release our only child into a very intense and exciting community of learners. When we drive away from our son tomorrow, I cannot predict how I will feel. I look forward to seeing him again during the school’s homecoming weekend. I am confident that I will fill my days as a school administrator while being my son’s loving, number one cheerleader.
Much peace and serenity as we launch our kids into the next adventure of their growth and development.
Copyright © 2017 by GenParenting
Yvette King-Berg, is the Executive Director of Youth Policy Institute’s Charter Schools. She was the former California Charter Schools Association Vice-President of School Development and Outreach-Southern California. Ms. King-Berg has over thirty years of experience working with teachers, students, parents, and organizations in a variety of positions including Director, Assistant Director, Curriculum Advisor, Bilingual, and Title 1 Coordinators, classroom teacher (K-12) in Pasadena and LAUSD. She has been married for twenty-three years, and is the proud mother of her son, EJ, who attends UC Berkeley.