How my Parents Helped Me

We asked current UBC students to tell us how their parents helped them adjust to university life. These are their top responses.

Send me newspaper clippings, or even just the comics page, from home.

It's called the undergraduate student bubble; every student experiences it. When you're surrounded by your peers, all day, every day, without your family's usual morning paper or evening news, it's easy to forget that there are things happening in the rest of the world. If you come across a newspaper article that makes you think of your son or daughter, save it and send it their way! It will remind them that there's more happening in the world than just exams and studying, it will remind them of home – local papers are especially good for this – and it will remind them that you're thinking of them.

Celebrate my successes – and support me when I struggle.

Whether it is a great mark on a paper or exam, acceptance onto a sports team, or an extracurricular achievement, it will mean a lot to your son or daughter to have you backing them up every step of the way.

Ask me about my classes and what I'm learning in them.

Students come to university to learn, so classes are an excellent way to connect with your son or daughter. It shows that you're interested in what they're working on, and in what they've decided to devote the next four years of their life to. Asking about classes, however, requires more than the standard, "How was school today?" or "What mark did you get?" Take the time to learn which classes your son or daughter is taking and find out what their schedule is like. Asking about classes and course material will also help your son or daughter focus on what they're studying. Explaining ideas and concepts to someone is an excellent way to reinforce them in your own mind, and learn them yourself.

Buy me groceries online and have them delivered.

Everyone gets sick of the cafeteria eventually. Sending groceries, especially things like fresh fruit and veggies, is a great way to add some variety to the student diet. Not only can it ensure that your son or daughter eats their greens, there's also that great feeling associated with having your own private stash of your favourite foods that you can rely on when you're running late for class or up late studying. Check with individual local grocers for delivery options.

Volunteer to proofread my papers or assignments.

Papers are stressful, so it's always nice to have a second pair of eyes to look them over. It helps to catch small things like grammatical errors, and bigger things like problems with organization and structure. It will help your son or daughter produce a better paper in the end, and it's also a great way for you to learn about what they have been working on lately! One caveat: always be gentle and constructive.

Send (or make!) me some home-cooked food.

Most students are easily plied with free food, but nothing is ever quite as good as one's favourite home-cooked dish or a batch of home-baked cookies. Worried about trying to ship fresh food? You don't have to be. Loading up your son or daughter with leftovers to take back to school after Thanksgiving and Christmas visits works just as well, and if that's not an option, non-perishable favourites work, too. Comfort food is a great reminder of home, and it always tastes better than cafeteria food or whatever they make for themselves.

Volunteer to give me exam wake-up calls.

Exam stress can make it hard to fall asleep at night which, by extension, means it's hard to get up in the morning. Early morning exams are a trial, since they require being able to both wake up early and think at the same time. To help prevent sleeping through an alarm clock and the risk of missed exams, arrange to call your son or daughter first thing in the morning, 15 minutes after they set their alarm to go off. They'll feel reassured knowing they won't accidentally sleep through an exam – a common exam-time nightmare – and you'll have a chance to wish them luck and show them you're thinking of them.

Send cards to me on special occasions (or just because).

Getting mail that isn't from a bank or utility is just plain fun. There's nothing quite like checking your mailbox and getting a card that you weren't expecting. Send cards (real ones, not e-cards) for any occasion, whether it's a birthday, special accomplishment, or just because you miss your kid. Cards are a great way to make any student's room feel a little homier, especially if they include pictures, and they'll remind your son or daughter that you're thinking of them and proud of what they're doing at UBC Okanagan.

Wait for me to call home instead of calling me.

At university, schedules change, and it's an important step for all students to be able to figure out a rhythm that works for them. As hard as it might be, wait for your son or daughter to call you. Students lead busy lives, rarely on a normal nine-to-five schedule, so they're often hard to track down by phone. And nothing kills a study groove faster than an unexpected phone call. Trust that they will call you if they ever need help or want to talk. Make sure your son or daughter knows when you'll be available and how you can be reached. For general communication, also consider using email, which is a good alternative if time zones and work schedules are getting in the way.

Come with me to UBC Okanagan for the first time and help me get settled.

You have already taken an important step toward helping your son or daughter transition to UBC Okanagan just by accompanying them and helping them get settled! Starting university is a big step, especially when it involves moving away from home for the first time. For students, it's nice to have parents around for support, especially for that first big move, even though they may never actually admit this. Your support is invaluable.

Last reviewed shim1/14/2015 2:29:10 PM