Your relationship with your student is changing. Instead of seeing this as something to be dreaded, embrace it as something to be celebrated—an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and to learn and grow together. You’ll find it easier to support your student in making this transition—and to make this transition yourself—if you keep these four simple strategies in mind.
1. Take stock of your student’s strengths.
One of the best ways to alleviate your worry and to boost your student’s confidence at the same time is by taking stock of their strengths and encouraging them to reflect on those strengths, too. Is your student a good communicator? Are they great at making new friends? Are they a good organizer? Are they creative when it comes to solving problems? Those are all strengths that they can draw upon as they face the inevitable challenges of university life.
2. Help your student to get excited about the opportunities that await them.
Change can be scary. It can also be tremendously exciting. And one of the most powerful things you can do to encourage your student to embrace these changes is to ignite both their passion for learning and their sense of purpose. Knowing where they are headed and why they want to get there will motivate them to do their best in their studies and to take full advantage of university life.
3. Express your confidence in their ability to cope with the inevitable curveballs.
Sure, it’s tempting to rush in and solve their problems for them, but they’ll feel better about themselves, and your relationship will benefit as a result, if you choose instead to empower them to make their own choices. That doesn’t mean that you need to pretend to be a disinterested bystander. You’re anything but! You can still be there to mentor and guide them—and to help them to tap into on-campus services and supports, if they’re having a tough time. Just try to give them the opportunity to take the lead before you step in. Of course, there may be times when your gut instincts are telling you that you need to step in because your student is really struggling—in which case, you’ll want to listen to your gut.
4. Remind yourself that you’re still as important as much as ever.
Sure, your student is becoming more independent and embarking on an exciting new adventure, but that doesn’t mean they no longer want a relationship with you. They’re still going to want to turn to you for support and encouragement, particularly at times when the going gets tough. Bottom line? They still need to know that you’re their number one fan and that you’re in their court, cheering them on.