After 10 years of working in higher education, I am used to the series of questions I get every summer:
“Do you have the summer off?”
“Oh really? Because my cousin is a professor and he doesn’t work in the summer.”
“Right, well, faculty members sometimes take it off, but staff members don’t have the same schedule.”
“Oh. So then what do you do all summer?”
There is a perception that if you work for a university, you must get the same breaks as the students because what could you possibly work on if the people you are there to serve are away sleeping in and watching Netflix.
First of all, college students sleep in and watch Netflix even when they are in the middle of finals. Secondly, there are plenty of students on campus for summer school (and in all seriousness, most college students spend the summer working and studying).
But mostly what I work on over the summer is EVERYTHING. It is quieter than the regular semesters, so I can prioritize big picture projects without the day-to-day responsibilities of events, student meetings, etc. And my biggest focus: new students.
I use these 12 weeks to prepare for the upcoming school year and that means meeting incoming students to my program (and their parents) at freshman orientations taking place throughout the summer. I don’t manage or plan these events and I bow down to those who do because they are A LOT of work. But in 10 years of participating in them in various capacities, I have witnessed an array of emotions and reactions from students and parents alike.
And since becoming a parent myself, I have increasingly viewed them from the eyes of the moms and dads getting ready to say goodbye to their teen. I am honored to share some tips for parents to maximize the orientation experience on a valuable website for those parenting 15- to 25-year-olds, Grown and Flown. Because of my work in higher education, I have loved reading both the practical and personal essays showcased on the site.It gives me insight into the issues and concerns of parents of college students, which helps me do my job better. I’m thrilled to contribute and hopefully allay some of those worries as a voice from the “inside.”
Please jump over to Grown and Flown to read the post and share any of your own tips or concerns. Thanks!