Help! My Parents Don’t Want Me to Rush

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Making the decision to rush a sorority is not one to take lightly. You will likely need the support (emotionally and financially) from your parents. If your parents don’t agree with your decision to join, you may be facing an even bigger obstacle. However, there are a few easy steps you can take to get your parents on your side and excited for your rush.

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1.   Figure Out Their Fears

If your parents don’t want you to join a sorority, it’s most likely because they have a misunderstanding of what it is like to be a sister or brother. That’s why it’s important to get to the bottom of why they dislike the plan. Knowing their personal reasons why will help you get through the next steps.

2.   Give Them the Details

Sororities and fraternities won’t just let you in without disclosing their expectations and requirements. For some, you may have to maintain a certain GPA. Others require that you pay a certain fee or live in a house. Before you bust out with, “Hey mom, I’m rushing!” make sure you are prepared with all the information you can get your hands on. If you can erase their fears by demonstrating that the sorority provides a study group and tutors or that the house allow you to live on campus instead of in a home, you’re more likely to get them on your side.

3.   Introduce Them to an Alumni

Alumni play a very important role in the rushing process. Usually, former sisters and brothers attend recruitment and rush events as a way to show off their success after college. If you have an organization you really love, don’t be afraid to ask them to help you out by having them send your parents an email or to even call them.

4.   Promise to be Upfront

Unfortunately, news stories about pledges going through initiation hazing have many parents on edge about their own children rushing. In many cases, the parents of the victims had no idea what was going on because their children didn’t tell them they were even pledging. Guarantee them that you know how to protect yourself in case you get into a bad situation, and be open to their personal opinions on the situation. Promise to check in every week or more and to email them if you have an important event or party with the details.

5.   Make an Activity Schedule

If your parents are focused on your maintaining your grades once you pledge, you’ll need to show them you can handle the extra load. Create a sample calendar with all of your classes, study times, tutoring sessions, sororityy meetings, and volunteer requirements. Then, go through each item and explain how they can fit in well together. After all, the point of rushing a sorority or fraternity is to not only make friends, but to enhance your college experience. By showing your parents how the organization will work for you, you can assuage their fears and get them on your side.

Parent’s Corner: Gift Ideas for the Beginning of the Semester

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Dropping off a child at their new college for the first time can leave you with a bunch of mixed emotions. They are on their own with a whole new world full of challenges and excitement ahead of them–it can be a bit daunting for both of you. When a few words of advice and good luck won’t do, here are a few gift ideas that will have them set for the beginning of the new semester and ultimately, their new life.

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1.   A Good Luck Charm Jewelry or Accessory

A longstanding tradition for many families is to gift a meaningful piece of jewelry or accessory. This may include a pearl necklace, a watch, or a tie clip. Try to incorporate today’s trends by choosing a casual look with accessories. Look for something fun, like a necklace with a four-leaf clover, a bracelet with a fortune cookie charm, or even cuff links with their favorite symbol.

2.   New Backpack

Parents that are more practical can give their student the gift that keeps on giving: a new backpack. Book bags can look fashionable, while serving as a functional piece for the semester. Pick one that is more mature than their high school version and be sure it comes with compartments for their laptop and large textbooks.

3.   Portfolio and Pen

If your student is ready to take on interviews for internships or is enrolling in professional courses this semester, a monogramed portfolio and pen are classic choices. It’s giving them the next step up from a notebook and click pens. Enhance their collection to a luxurious leather bound portfolio and heavy weighted pen.

4.   School Spirit Gear

All students, no matter their grade, love to get new school spirit gear to proudly display. Outfit them with their new lucky jersey or a pre-test cup of coffee in a school color mug. If they enjoy vintage goods, hit the thrift shops for old pendants or class rings for them to display.

5.   Care Package

A great item to pack away without them knowing is a small care package for the first few days of school. Most likely, they will feel overwhelmed by the new classes or stress of meeting new friends. Ease them into the transition with gift cards to new restaurants, letters from family members, and some favorite treats from home.

6.   Empty Photo Album + Camera

An empty photo album may seem sad, but in reality, it’s a great way to encourage them to fill it with their new memories. Make it a tradition by giving them a new one each year or semester to document their adventures and accomplishments.

7.   Plane Ticket Home

For those traveling longer distance, the idea of not seeing home for a long period can be especially intimidating. Surprise them by having a plane ticket ready for a holiday break! It will give your student and yourself something to look forward to.

Gifting a college student a good luck charm or token can be a fun way to start the semester. For those going off to college for the first time or those leaving home, add extra meaning with a gift that not only says “good luck,” but also “we believe in you.”

Will you be sending a gift off to your student for their new semester? How do you plan on staying in contact and showing your love? Let us know!

7 Life Lessons to Teach Your Kids Going to College

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There comes a time in many parents’ lives where they must cut the strings and send their son and/or daughter off to college.  While this can be a rather sad time, at the same time there is always sense of pride and excitement that comes with knowing your child is taking the next steps into adulthood.  Of course, as parents it is your duty to prepare your child for what is to come and what to avoid.  Below are seven life lessons every parent should teach their kid before beginning the most exciting years of their lives.

 

1. Wash Linens and Make Your Bed

Building great habits is extremely crucial.  Even though you aren’t around to make sure things are neat and tidy every day, it is important to instill cleanliness values so that they follow through on their own while away from home. Get your students prepared with everything they need to succeed, like OCM’s laundry hampers. Additionally, studies have shown that people who wake up and make their beds before stepping out for the day lead much more clear-headed, organized lives.  Accomplishing this first task of the day will help establish a small sense of pride, and get you ready and able to take on more tasks throughout the day.

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2. Save Your Cents

Each year, more and more college students are graduating already in debt.  With that being said, it is never too early to teach your kids to start saving for future loan paybacks.  Money habits at this age set the tone for later on.  If you notice something off about their money spending habits early on, this will only escalate once they are independent.  Your son or daughter needs to be well aware that money is finite, and what you run out of will not come back unless more is earned

3. Get a Part-time Job

While no student should ever take on a full-time, intensive job that could get in the way of studies, a part-time job can be extremely beneficial.  Not only will it help with spending cash and savings, but having a part-time job is a fantastic character-building experience.  It gives them a taste for a future in the workplace, insight on how to juggle a busy schedule, and help for meeting new people outside of their classrooms.  Almost every college and university offers a ton of job options within a work-study program, where students can earn extra cash working on campus.

4. Work Hard, For Yourself

There is no better path to a strong sense of self-respect than honest work.  Teach your kids to embrace working hard and always going the extra mile, and they will discover, early on, the depth of their own potential and abilities.  It is only until you give something your absolute best effort will you know if you can be good at it.

5. Plan for the Future

It is important that your child deliberates about his or her life regularly.  Have them think about what their ultimate peace looks like, and it will help make a clear path through the steps needed to get there.  Consider using dry erase calendars and having them make a list of goals and aspirations, both short-term and long-term, before they leave home to refer back to as a working road map throughout college. Having a clear sense of the future helps to instill purpose outside of one’s self and gives meaning to the quest for ultimate happiness.

6. Be Kind

There are infinite benefits in being kind to others.  It usually doesn’t cost anything or take much time to help someone in a pickle, notice a success, or offer a compliment.  Being kind to your peers and mentors will help establish a positive reputation and just might open new doors for your child in the future.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Fail

College is a time to push your boundaries and challenge yourself in ways never done before.  Since no one is perfect, this adversity always presents some bumps along the way.  Failure is among one of the best ways to grow and learn as an individual, so never be afraid of it.  Life is too short to always play it safe in fear of messing up.  Teaching your kids how to brush themselves off after defeat is one of the most beneficial life lessons.

3 Ways to Loosen the Grip of Helicopter Parents

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We’ve all heard the term “Helicopter Parent” and while most people associate that with a parent looming over their child’s every move, there’s actually more to it. A Helicopter Parent does consist of over protective parents shielding their children intensively, but the student is just as much to blame. Being sheltered is great, but eventually problem solving skills need to be formed, and that means without the hovering clouds of your parents. If you complain about your Helicopter Parent or rely on your parents for almost everything, it’s time to grow up. Being away at college is the start to your wonderful life of independence. Calling home everyday may not be as expensive as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily be doing it.

The first few months of school are intimidating, overwhelming and a bit uncomfortable. This is to be expected. You’re in a new place (maybe even new state) with alien surroundings and people you haven’t yet had a chance to really get to know. You may be feeling confused, out of place, homesick and a bit sad. You aren’t alone. Most every other student there is feeling the same way at some point and could probably use a friend. If you’re still feeling really homesick and can’t stop dialing your parents on speed dial, put your phone down, take a deep breath, and follow these three tips.

1) Once or twice a week-Max.- Unless there are some birthdays, questions or “Happy Anniversarys” to wish, you shouldn’t be calling home more than once or twice a week. Years ago, when students would say goodbye to their families on move-in day, it really was for long periods of time. Long distance calling was expensive and traveling was less efficient. Now a days, there’s so many different technological outlets that communication is constant. This is great in hindsight, but what students fail to realize is that they’re patching over a hole in their learning development. During college, struggling a bit just comes with the territory. If you’re calling your parents for every little problem and issue, you’re not growing, and you’re not learning.

2) Try to solve things on your own FIRST- I give college kids credit everywhere for some of the things they have to deal with. Those who live off campus have to deal with disgruntled landlords and outdated properties, students are learning to budget and be financially responsible, and getting sick is much harder without a cup of soup and the personal nursing touch from mom. It’s like being pushed into a cold pool in the middle of winter. But, just like any other pool, it’s cold at first until you get used to the water. Before calling home for guidance, try to solve issues with professors on your own. Get your roommate and give your landlord a hard time until they serve your requests (be reasonable). Make yourself a budget and don’t spend like you have no limit. Being an adult means doing things adults do and that means NOT calling your parents to mop up every mess you make. You can do it. If you’re still struggling with something after a day or so, call them, but first try to work things out on your own.

3) “I’m doing great, call you in a few days”- Helicopter Parents (much like any parents) just want the best for you. They want to make sure you’re doing okay and have everything you need. Even if you’re a little stressed out, that’s normal and isn’t grounds for you to alert your parents. You’ll make them worry and then they will call you even more than usual. If you’re trying to get your parents to loosen their grip a bit, keep enforcing the idea that you’re doing great on your own and while you miss them, you’ve got it under control. It may be hard for them to see you being so independent at first, but learning to be on your own is a golden rule of college. Remember that you have friends and your roommate to lean back on if you feel a little homesick. Go to a movie or have a pizza night to take your mind off it.

While your parents won’t stop worrying about you… ever (it’s their natural superpower), they’ll learn to let you make your own way. Texting, calling, Skyping and communicating with your parents multiple times a day is allowing them to keep a grip on you. Definitely still communicate with them once or twice a week, but take the extra time to learn about yourself and your surroundings. This independence will make you learn heaps about yourself you never even knew you had in you! Independence is exciting and teaches you a lot about responsibility. Use college as a chance to grow, your parents will notice and loosen up a bit.

Dealing with the Helicopter Parent and College

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The school year will be wrapping up soon, and with college looming heavily in the distance for many young adults the struggle between parents and their students will be kicked into overdrive.

Even if you’re a graduating senior, preparing to begin your freshmen year in a few months there will be plenty of long discussions and arguments with your anxious, concerned parents to live through this summer, especially if your priorities don’t match up.

Just remember that you’re not alone, and that your parents are arguing with you because they care.

1)Pick your battles

A good night’s sleep will not make your argument disappear. Mom and Dad (and you for that matter) are not going to change their mind overnight. So you need to pick your priorities and choose to compromise on issues that aren’t as important to you. You don’t need to argue over your parents over every single detail. After all, does it really matter if you join honors society as long as you live in the residence hall you want to live in?

2) You have to deal with the Consequences

It may be easier to sit back and let Mom and Dad do everything for you, (especially if you know you’ll argue over everything) but it’s probably not the best idea. You are the one who will be living with these decisions. So if you let Mom take your math assessment online for you, it will be you who has to take the class that she gets you placed into; whether it’s calculus 2 or pre-calculus the class will be a waste of your time and your money if it isn’t the class you actually belong in.

3) Be Understanding

The reason your parents have become so overbearing lately it that they care about you. They don’t want you to suffer through the same miserable mistakes that they dealt with. They remember what it was like to be 17 and unsure of what you will do with the rest of your life. They want to help you. So don’t throw every decision and every argument in their face. Consult them, help them get involved in your decisions and explain to them why you want to do something. You’ll find that if they understand your reasoning they will often side with you.

Image: Duquesne university