I am happy to announce that after 3 years of college (based on a trimestral calendar), my daughter Aryanna is finally graduating this February. Nakapagpa-graduate din ako! Hallelujiaaaaa!! Haha!
I still remember the time when she just graduated from high school and we were all worried about her college admission tests and choosing the right university. At that time, she only had two schools in mind: Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. Thankfully, she got accepted to both. She originally had her heart set on Ateneo but after careful considerations (course curriculum and listening to her instinct) she chose to enroll in De La Salle University.
The last three years of college for my daughter was a roller coaster ride as she was juggling work (taping for MTV & OPM shows, hosting, shooting advertisements and vlogging/blogging) and school while consistently being on the Dean’s List and maintaining her GPA. Adding to that is the trimestral system of De La Salle which is brutal but in the end, it was beneficial to Aryanna as she finishing college in record time (only 3 years instead of 4)! Obviously, my husband and I were also part of her college journey as we had to support her and encourage her so that she can balance her work-school life and achieve her goals.
I’m blogging (after being on a hiatus) about this because even with the overflowing of college information that’s available today, there’s nothing like getting the advice from a fellow parent—especially one whose children who are incoming college freshmen or who are still studying in the university.
10 tips for parents with kids going to college or who are already in the university:
1. Do not choose a college that you cannot afford. Your child will still benefit from a college education no matter where they go.
2. Don’t provide unlimited resources. If they fail a class, they should pay or at least work for it, like for example, helping out at home or helping you with work or your business to retake it. They SHOULD make meaningful contributions to the family and take responsibility.
3. Rich or poor, have them work part time while attending school, so they can learn to budget time and money. Experience is the best teacher.
4. Don’t choose a college for a specific major. Some students change majors. Pick a school with lots of choices and classes that are transferable from one major to another.
5. Don’t listen to the naysayers who will tell your child to choose a different career path because of scarce job availability. The job market is cyclical and your child should follow his or her passion.
6. Make sure your child stays on top of their schedule and what’s needed for graduation.
7. Always encourage your children, especially through the rough times. College can be discouraging and stressful at times, and to know they always have their parents’ support is essential to their success.
8. Allow them to try new things, allow them to stumble and pick themselves up. Listen a lot, ask questions, and do not lecture (though that can be very hard).
9. Apply for as many internships as they can get. They are key to building experience as a student or recent graduate. Employers are much more likely to hire someone with internship and work experience rather than someone with a generic resume, lacking experience.
10. Urge your children to go as far as they can with their education. It is the one thing that can never be taken away from them.
At the end of the day, we need to express concern and interest, and empower our adolescents to seek appropriate kinds of help when necessary, to make good choices, and to learn from experience. We cannot step in and do it for my them. However, some of the situations can be stressful and difficult for our children.
I also learned that there is a fine balance in taking a genuine interest and offering help – but not encouraging Aryanna to rely on her dad and me too much. We want to foster an independent, empowered and smart individual.
In a nutshell: College is a good thing, excessive debt is a bad thing, and children/students should be given some room to make mistakes and mop up after themselves. Be supportive and encouraging parents and enjoy the journey with your children.
Watch Aryanna’s videos or better yet, watch it with your adolescents as her videos are full of tips, nuggets of wisdom that are both insightful and helpful for incoming college freshmen and college students.