Stanford Observed


By Robert and Susan Weisberg

Before we risk giving advice that is even vaguely philosophical or high-minded, just remember this: Send food. Preferably cookies and sweets, and don’t rely on the U.S. Postal Service. You can use UPS, now that its contract is secure.

Worry, if you must, about leaving your freshmen somewhere they may not be prepared for. Share your thoughts with other parents, but don’t bother sharing them with your freshmen. At our age, we tend to view these things with sobering existential self-reflection. We may even get spiritual. They are far more into vitality than spirituality and they are too busy.

Now let’s get to it: transitional agonies.

Despite all that freshman “orienting,” don’t assume that their transition to college is necessarily dramatic or even traumatic. Certainly nothing compared to yours now. Mostly, school is about studying and going to class. They’re already very skilled at that. They have already been living like college students for the last few years, checking in at home only occasionally to change clothes or credit cards. Most of the hours they’ve been home they’ve been asleep. But you always knew they were there. Now they’re gone for most of the year, and you may feel the difference far more than they do. So if you want to immerse yourself in the experience of dramatic change, go ahead and do so, but don’t expect them to share your sense of drama.

Let’s now address something really serious. If your kid happens to tell you about a bad day on an exam, you’ll presumably have the good sense to just say something reassuring and lighten the load. Pressure can push a freshman to do something you can’t take so lightly. We have an Honor Code here. It’s fair and humane and it’s not gratuitously harsh ­ but it’s not soft either. Your

Stanford Observed (Plain text)

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