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April2013 Volume 7 | Issue 9

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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Warmer temperatures, a quickening academic pace, and recognition events seemingly every week...it must be April on a college campus!  With the relaxation of spring break behind them, you may hear your students comment on the lightning speed with which the end of the semester is moving.  Class material becomes more challenging, as this is the last leg of the semester to final exams (scheduled May 13-17, 2013) and, in their co-curricular activities, April is awards season.  This is the chance for student organizations and offices across campus to celebrate student successes and recognize their hard work throughout the academic year. Congratulations to all students who are being recognized with an award this year!  Stellar co-curricular participation on top of academic success should be rewarded.

A few other items we'd like to note:

First, Commencement is just around the corner.  Congratulations to those of you with seniors graduating May 17-18, 2013!  We’ve received a number of emails asking about details, so we’ll share that the best comprehensive resource for CSU graduation is the Commencement website.  CSU’s model is decentralized, so information is provided by college.  We’ve compiled a few Commencement details on the Parent & Family website, so we’ll encourage you to link to the Commencement site from there.

Next, we have not yet received confirmation of Homecoming and Family Weekend dates for fall 2013.  As many of you know, we have to wait until the television schedule for the entire conference is set before we can announce a date and we believe the delay is being caused by the conference television contractual negotiations.  We know families like to plan for Homecoming & Family Weekend well in advance, so we will send an email as soon as we receive the information.

Also, with the crazy spring Colorado weather that vacillates between 70 degrees and snow, we hope you're talking with your student about the end of the semester.  As mentioned above, April is a busy month and spring fever starts to set in for many of our students right about now.  Academics come first at CSU, and, while we want students to enjoy their time at CSU, we also want them to finish the semester successfully.  Encourage your students to use campus contacts to help them do this:  talking with faculty members about topics they don't understand and using resources such as The Institute for Learning and Teaching for help will certainly help them tackle difficult subjects.

Lastly, we want to give special thanks to Lisa and J Bruce Camino, fantastic CSU parents who authored the article on looking back over their son, Kevin’s, four years at Colorado State.  The article is an eloquent reflection on the changes that occur for both parents and students during the college experience and we’re grateful they shared their story.  Please take a look and send us any comments you may have about the article.  We’re happy to pass them along to Lisa and J Bruce.

Thanks for all you do to support your student and Colorado State University.  We appreciate you!

take care,

Jody & Kacee

Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs
jody.donovan@colostate.edu

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs
kacee.collard@colostate.edu

Parent and Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312

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Advising Insights: Choosing a Concentration of Interest & Navigating Holds

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Melanie Smith Nichols

By Melanie Smith Nichols, Academic Advisor, Center for Advising and Student Achievement

While most students focus on choosing a major, choosing a concentration or area of interest within a particular major can shape the trajectory of a student’s major and, eventually, their career. For example, Horticulture, a major in our College of Agriculture Sciences, has 6 concentrations including floriculture, horticulture business management, horticulture science, food crops, horticulture therapy, and viticulture and enology. Business Administration majors have 6 concentrations to choose from: accounting, computer information systems, finance, marketing, management and real estate. So how does a student know what concentrations or areas of interest are available in their major? And how do they choose the one that is best for them?

A good place to start gathering information is CASA’s Academic and Career Horizons website, a resource on the CASA webpage that describes each major and the concentrations available within that particular major. It also lists traits most commonly found in people in those majors and potential careers. This is an excellent place to start when researching the major or concentration that may be right for your student. A visit to the department’s website will give a student more in-depth information about concentrations. After a student has gathered information about the possibilities within a major, a meeting with their academic advisor is the next step. The advisor will be able to clarify any questions about the concentration and help the student create an academic plan for graduation.

Students that have multiple interests may find departmental or interdisciplinary minors useful. In addition, minors show employers that a student is well-rounded and can be useful in supplementing a major. Business majors can add a foreign language or an economics minor to supplement their major to give them more depth in a field related to their interests. Some helpful tips for students to choose a concentration or minor:

  • Do your homework: researching the areas you are interested in can help with clarity and direction.
  • Look into the past: what have you liked or disliked about past work experiences? Past courses?
  • Be bold: instead of shying away from opportunities because of indecision, be proactive in seeking out opportunities that will help you make a well-informed decision.
  • Embrace change: if you start in one concentration or minor and decide to change to another, it’s not the end of the world. Focusing on one area does not mean you are locked into it for the rest of your life. Use that experience to grow.
  • Follow your passion: Let your natural instincts guide you and your program will fall into place.

Now that summer and fall class registration is coming up (March 26th for summer, April & early May for fall), students should make an appointment with their academic advisor to go over their academic plan and discuss appropriate classes for registration. Advisors schedules tend to fill up fast this time of year, so the earlier your student can make an appointment, the better! Also, remind your student to look for HOLDS on their RamWeb account that could prevent them from registering and have your student contact their advisor ASAP!

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Assessment Results: Internships Lead to Career Success

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The Career Center

Coordinated By Katie Flint, Senior Associate Director of Employee Relations at the Career Center

You may have heard your student talk about looking for an internship – at least we at the Career Center hope you have! And if not, we highly encourage you to have that conversation with your student in the very near future and to encourage them to come see us. Why? Research shows they will be more successful in finding the right career path and securing a job after they graduate if they engage in an internship in college. There are many reasons for this success and students have many opportunities to find their “right fit”.  As an example, we asked one of CSU’s key recruiting partners, Hewlett-Packard (HP) to write about their experiences. They have a highly successful internship program and recruit many CSU Rams every year. By getting some insight into what they do with their interns, you will see why programs such as HP’s are essential to the career development and success of your student!

Ranked #10 in the Fortune 500 and operating in more than 170 countries, Hewlett-Packard (HP) creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. From the device to the data-center, nobody knows technology like HP. An internship in such a massive organization could prove intimidating, but HP seeks to provide interns with the tools to make interning a valuable addition to their formal educational experience.

The purpose of HP’s intern program is to bring new talent and ideas to HP, according to Migdalia Carrero, Americas Intern Program Manager. “The interns in our program are located throughout the United States and across the Americas region.” says Carrero.  “Our managers strive to provide each intern with the opportunity to work with other employees and engineers on meaningful projects, providing the guidance and mentoring needed by the student to develop, personally and professionally,” she adds. A key objective of the program is the return of qualified interns to either a subsequent intern assignment or, in the case of graduating interns, a regular full-time position with HP.

Phil Neal works at HP’s facility in Fort Collins, and manages the intern program at that site.  He states, “When we bring students into the working environment at HP we see a couple of great changes take place. First, they gain an understanding that their knowledge (and often their passion) can be applied to everyday problems that our engineers, marketers, and project leaders face, and that the projects and products they’re working on are going to market will eventually be translated into dollars and cents. That’s quite a shift in thinking for many of them, and we find that our interns love the fact that they’re going to see their contributions make their way into shipping channels around the world.”

“Second, our interns really start to understand what it means to “own” their work”, Phil adds. They’re given quite a bit of free reign in determining how to accomplish their assigned tasks and how to manage their time. This level of freedom requires them to be creative and, quite often, to reach out to colleagues and mentors on their teams to achieve success. They have to drive their own success….many of our interns thrive in that setting.”

Felicia Powers, a current HP intern from CSU states, “I’ve gained knowledge in the area of my major, however the most notable value gained from my HP internship are skills you can only learn in industry.  These skills include networking, communication across multiple divisions, knowledge of corporate business policies, and most importantly, critical thinking skills.”  While these skills can be learned elsewhere, they are fine tuned in the unique situations provided by an internship.  Internships are a critical and fundamental element of any student’s education. The multitude and variety of situations an intern must navigate and learn from ultimately creates a more knowledgeable and well-rounded graduate for future positions. 

HP is committed to a long-term relationship with Colorado State University, and has hired numerous students, contributed many in-kind gifts, and donated the time and talents of its recruiting staff.

Find out more about HP internships on our website

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Learning Outcome: Watch Out, They're Coming Home...Again!

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Moving Home

 

By Jody Donovan, Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs

The shock of sending students to college for the first time can only be matched by the shock of seeing them standing on your doorstep, suitcase in hand, expecting to move home after earning their college degrees.  Visions of an empty nest are replaced with the realities of the “crowded nest” (Shaputis, 2004) as the “boomerang kids” return home due to economic factors, debt load, delayed employment, cultural factors, or just a longing for the comforts of home.

The Boomerang phenomenon is not new, however, recent studies by the Pew Research Center (Parker & Patten, 2013) report increasing numbers (as many as 65% to 85%) of children will move home temporarily at some point in their twenties. Many families welcome their young adults back home with open arms…at least for awhile.  Some families have not downsized their big homes and actually appreciate more bodies back in the home. In some societies, it is expected for young adults to return home to care for aging parents and younger siblings until marriage or adulthood. Finally, some families are willing to continue supporting their emerging adults until they land on their feet emotionally and financially.

There are downsides to this intergeneration cohabitation, such as when students return to their dependent child-like behaviors, the arrangement becomes financially threatening to the parents, or when the temporary arrangement becomes permanent.   Some boomerangers report negative impacts on dating and socializing with friends, loss of independence and privacy, feeling less like an adult and being embarrassed by their living situation (Savage & Petree, 2013). Relationships may be impacted, as one study reported relationships were at their most positive during the first month and significantly declined by the last month living at home (Savage & Petree, 2013).

If your student is sending signals about boomeranging, we’ve compiled some helpful tips for you as you become a “Baby Gloomer—boomers whose adult kids have moved back home” (Brenoff, 2012).

  • Develop the plan before your student moves back. Discuss your boomeranger’s motivation for moving home, is it due to a lack of alternative living arrangements, desperate financial situation, waiting for graduate school or job to begin, or just taking a break?
  • Set a deadline for moving out. The plan should be specific with consequences for violating the agreement.  Forbes (2012) emphasizes, “Set a limit and say it loud.  Be specific. Six months, one year, whatever is the case.”
  • Articulate clear expectations and boundaries. Treat your young adult like an adult and develop the guidelines together to arrive at comfortable terms.  Topics include curfew, entertaining friends and significant others in the home, chores, and rent.  If you’re squeamish about taking money from your boomerang-kid, “Use rent payments as a carrot by promising to hand the money back at the scheduled move-out time” suggests Brenoff (2012).
  • Make job searching a job. It’s hard to keep motivated during the job search, so encourage your boomeranger to apply for at least one job every day, and spend time “…networking, going to job and industry events, contacting [his] alumni association, and researching target companies, rather than just applying to online job postings,” says Abby Wilner, co-author of Quarterlifer’s Companion. You may need to coach your recent grad about being realistic about the types of jobs, titles, and salaries one can expect right out of college. Remember though, this is their job search, not yours!
  • Hold Firm.  Tough love may be required if the cohabitation extends beyond your deadline and your boomeranger is looking more like an anchor.  This can be avoided through regular conversations, revisiting the plan, and not being afraid to kick him or her out of the nest.  Do not sacrifice your financial security, retirement savings, or future goals for your kids. Brennan Miller, a financial advisor shared,

It’s okay to ask them to rise to their potential.  A hundred years ago 17 year olds were leading armies, working the farm and contributing to their families’ income and everyone knew it was in them to do it.  Today we under-challenge kids.  We don’t expect much and they live down to our expectations. (Forbes, 2012)

At Colorado State University, we’re focusing on the transition out of college for our graduating seniors.  We’re collaborating with the Alumni Association, Career Center, CSU Health Network, Orientation and Transition Programs and other departments across campus and most importantly, with you to prepare students for life as productive, educated citizens of the world. 

Brenoff, A. (2012). Boomerang kids: The challenges of living with adult children.” Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/boomerang-kids-multigenerational-households-living-  with-adult-children_n_1434966.html.

Forbes (2012). Five survival tips for parents with ‘Boomerang kids.’ Retrieved from http://forbes.com/sites/sherylnancenash/2012/05/10/five-tips-for-surviving-the-boomerang-kid.

Parker, K. & Patten, E. (2013). The sandwich generation: Rising financial burdens for middle-aged Americans. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/

Savage, M. & Petree, C. (2013). “Boomerang families: Helping families adjust to life after college.” Presentation during NASPA Conference, Orlando, FL.

Shaputis, K. (2004). The crowded nest syndrome: Surviving the return of adult children. Clutter Fairy Publishing.

Wilner, A.  & Stocker, C. (2005).The quarterlifer’s companion: How to get on the right career path, Control your finances, and find the support network you need to thrive. NY: McGraw Hill.

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April RAMFAM Meeting

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RAM Fam

By Kacee Collard Jarnot, Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs

The RAMFAM Association is taking it “on the road” this month to experience downtown Denver and engage with all of our Denver area families (and those willing to travel to Denver)!  This month's RAMFAM meeting aims to gather a new set of participants, so join us in a beautiful space in downtown Denver where we’ll mingle, enjoy coffee and light breakfast appetizers, and talk about the academic year.

This fun event will give families a chance to connect and share your students’ stories.  Then we will share tips on how to help your students develop life skills during their college years through research, student testimonials & the wisdom in the room.  This event will not be webcast, so we hope you are able to join us in person!  Here are the details:

  • Who:  All Parents and Families of CSU Students
  • Date:  Saturday, April 6, 2013
  • Time:  10:00 – 11:30 am
  • Location:  CSU Denver Center (directions provided upon RSVP to Karen Rewinkel by April 4, 2013)
  • Cost:  FREE!!

Tentative Agenda:

  • Welcome, Mingling and Eating
  • Sharing Your Student’s Story
  • Tips for Helping Students Develop Life Skills

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Celebrate Your Graduate with a CSU Alumni Association Grad Pack!

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Grad Pack

By Tonya Malik-Carson, Assistant Director of Marketing, Colorado State university Alumni Association 

If you have a student graduating in May…congratulations! You deserve kudos for supporting your graduate over the years and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of this journey. As your graduate makes the transition from student to alumnus, we encourage you to check into the services and programs available through the Alumni Association.

Alumni Association Grad Packs are one-stop shopping options with graduation essentials such as cap, gown, and tassel rental.

Grad Pack Options:

     Annual Grad Pack      $37 ($48 value)

   Colorado Grad Pack     $125 ($148 value)

Life Member Grad Pack $750 ($1,025 value)

·         Alumni Association Annual Membership

·         Cap, gown, & tassel rental

·         Alumni license plate frame

·         10% off diploma frames

·         All items listed in Annual Grad Pack PLUS

·         Colorado State University license plate certificate

·         All items listed in Annual Grad Pack PLUS

·         Life Membership in lieu of Annual Membership

 

The Alumni Association also offers access to short-term major medical insurance, pet insurance, networking opportunities, career assistance, and more. Visit the Alumni Association website for details.

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Did You know? Celebrate Seniors Week is April 29 - May 4, 2013

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Baloons

By Audrey Wilson, Graduate Assistant for Student Advancement Programs, Office of CSU Events & Constituent Engagement

Celebrate Seniors Week is a new initiative at Colorado State University aimed at celebrating Seniors’ successes and providing students additional opportunities to be a part of CSU traditions before they graduate.  We are so proud of what our 2013 graduates have accomplished during their time at CSU and thank them for their leadership over the years.  Celebrate Seniors Week is meant to congratulate any student who plans to graduate from CSU at any time during 2013.

Some of the activities that are planned for Celebrate Seniors Week include:

  • Seniors on the Stump – An opportunity for seniors to offer wisdom, tips and gratitude from the Lory Student Center Plaza stump.
  • Thank a Teacher/Mentor – Seniors will have an opportunity to present thank you stickers to the teachers and mentors who have made their CSU experience great.
  • Senior Orange Out – One day during Celebrate Seniors Week, all seniors, supporters and friends will be encouraged to wear Orange to celebrate those students who are graduating and becoming alumni.
  • Alumni Panel – Several CSU Alumni will be present to talk about their current careers and tips about transitioning to life after college as well as how to remain engaged with CSU after graduation.
  • Hike to the ‘A’ – The hike is a yearly tradition students can take part in during their first year at CSU.  For the first time ever seniors will have an opportunity to relive the experience during their final year at CSU.
  • Senior Candlelight Ceremony – An elegant evening on the Oval with speakers and music to commemorate students’ full CSU experience.
  • Senior Farewell Concert – A large concert experience to celebrate with seniors.

Celebrate Seniors Week is a collaborative effort by a number of campus departments and groups including the newly formed Senior Year Experience Council, the Student Alumni Associates, the CSU Alumni Association, CSU Office of Events and Constituent Engagement, Campus Activities, and the Association for Student Activities Programming (ASAP). 

We look forward to celebrating with your seniors!  Please feel free to share the news about Celebrate Seniors Week with any CSU senior you may know who is graduating in the year 2013.  During this inaugural year seniors can be on the lookout for posters around campus with additional information.  Details will also be updated at www.alumni.colostate.edu as final dates and locations are determined.  Any questions can be directed to Audrey Wilson

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Summer Involvement: Perspectives from a Student

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Kasey Broscheit

By Kasey Broscheit, Junior at Colorado State University

Since starting college, I have really tried to squeeze everything I can out of my summers.  I am currently a junior at Colorado State University with a double major in Art and Business, with concentrations in Sculpture, Management, and Entrepreneurship.   While some people can’t wait for that break to just relax, I’ve never been the type of person to have, or even want, that luxury.  Money has to come in from somewhere so working has always been the major focus of my past summers.  That time of the year is a good opportunity to work more hours since you aren’t constantly in classes or volunteering in some of your co-curriculars.

The summer after my first year, I worked with two different jobs back home in Arvada.  They were unrelated to my ultimate goals and career interests, but I had to make money and save as much as I could.  Both were part time, and one was even something I could do from home, which still gave me time to have fun and hang out with my friends and family.  Both jobs were very low stress and that was perfect for where I was at in my life.

My second summer proved to be much more challenging and rigorous.  In my sophomore year I added art as a second major, which proved to set me back a semester.  Knowing that I still wanted to graduate in four years, I realized I was going to have to put in some summer school to achieve my goals.  The problem was I also desperately needed to make some money.  I made the courageous decision to embark on the most stressful summer of my life, which included taking fifteen credits, working forty hours a week, and beginning to integrate a small internship I would work with for the remainder of my college career.   While the job was not related to my career aspirations, it helped to build my resume and gave me new opportunities and experience.  I lived in Fort Collins for the summer, worked hard, and occasionally visited my family on the weekends.  Even though it was challenging, I learned a great deal about what I could accomplish and really grew as an independent individual.

I will soon be moving into my last summer before graduation, and think that it will be a very exciting and rewarding time for me.  Since I am getting closer to finishing college I knew I really needed gain more experience related to what I will be doing after graduation.   This summer I will be working with two internships, one paid and one unpaid , as well as completing 1-2 online summer classes.  Both internships are absolutely incredible opportunities with artists and galleries in Denver and the classes will mesh well with my graduation plan.  I am beyond excited to see what the summer will hold for me and look forward to the personal growth I know will take place. 

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Help Students in Need: Tell Someone

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By Ashley Vigil & Josh Alvarez, Office of Threat & Safety Assessment

Around this time of year we notice that students become more stressed; between upcoming finals and end of school year obligations, stress levels are at an all-time high on campuses across the nation.  Stress tends to show itself in many different areas of someone’s life such as relationships, academics, and at work.  CSU’s Tell Someone program gives faculty, staff, students, and community members the opportunity to alert the University of CSU community members in distress, or to be connected to campus resources for themselves.  A referral, which can be kept confidential, can assist in connecting a distressed individual to Counseling Services, Student Case Management, and other areas on campus to work with the individual regarding academic or personal issues.

Staff is available to speak with callers during business hours, Monday through Friday, at 970-491-1350.  Referrals can also be made using the “Health and Safety Referral form.”  This program is not designed to address immediate safety concerns and in the case of a CSU community member being an imminent danger to themselves or others, we encourage you to contact the CSU Police Department by calling 911 or their non-emergency number at 970-491-6425.

Some examples of why you may want to report concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • Threats, gestures, writings or attempts related to suicide or violence
  • Harmful to themselves or others
  • Self-injurious behavior (e.g. cutting self)
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse problems
  • Pattern of bizarre behaviors or actions
  • Hospitalization for mental health issues or drug or alcohol use
  • Sudden, rapid weight loss or gain
  • Poor health due to restrictive eating or concern this person has an eating disorder
  • Disruption to the living, learning or working environment
  • Unusual or changed pattern or interaction with others
  • Change in academic or job performance
  • Excessive absences or tardiness to class or work
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Exaggerated emotional response that is obviously inappropriate to the situation

This referral is designed to help the distressed individual, not to punish them.  All reports are treated with discretion and with a reasonable expectation of confidentiality.  Information that is reported may be shared with appropriate individuals in order to help protect the safety and health of those involved in an incidents reported.

As parents and families, you may be aware of stressors in your student’s lives that don’t present themselves while they are on campus.  If you are seeking information regarding resources for your student, or would like us to reach out to your student, please feel free to call 970-491-1350 or fill out the online form.  You can learn more about the Tell Someone program by visiting CSU’s Public Safety website or by calling 970-491-1350 with any questions.

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Looking Back: Perspectives from Parents of a CSU Senior

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Camino Family

By Lisa and J Bruce Camino, Current CSU Parents

We just returned from taking our son Kevin to the airport, to fly back to Colorado after winter break.  It has been 1251 days since we said good bye to our son at the dorm his freshman year (but who is counting?), and this was our last goodbye before we return in May for his graduation.  Looking back at Kevin’s time at CSU, we have learned a lot as out of state parents.  Similar to our students, there have been proud times, challenging times, celebrations and unexpected obstacles.   Some ideas to share:

 Learn as much as you can about CSU.  Gathering information helps you to prepare, and helps ease fears or anxiety when you are familiar with all that is available to help our college students thrive.  Lisa took notes from day one, when we visited at High School Junior Visit Day.   Orientation, Parent-Family weekend, the CSU website, Parent and Family Association newsletters  and monthly meetings, different Facebook groups, and Alumni functions all offer valuable information for parents.  We also became involved with the Southern California Home Town Ram Fam group.  These options will also help you to connect and communicate with other parents and CSU staff, which we found invaluable.  We can model for our kids asking for help and using campus resources.

Adjust parenting to fit the needs of our millennial students.  Remember that since we are a very involved and often sheltering generation of parents, it may be hard to find the balance between staying close to our children and also letting them grow up.  They need to separate in order to become independent and mature young adults.  It is always difficult to watch your children make mistakes and struggle.  When a situation arises that is challenging or stressful for your student, talk about it, problem solve together, but let him or her find solutions without stepping in to fix it.   Remember that to let go means not being in the middle arranging outcomes, but to allow our children to create their own outcomes.

Find the opportunities that come from adversity.  We all want our children to get good grades, to be responsible with their social life, to make “good” friends, and more.  As well as you might know your child, parents cannot predict nor control the experiences they will have or the speed of their life learning.  Kevin always wanted to be a vet, and realized by the end of his freshman year that he would not be continuing with that major.  It was so disappointing to him, and sad for us to see him disappointed.  However, he found additional passions by exploring different areas of study, and by examining his strengths and what he truly enjoys.  This personal growth has been joyful to watch, and he is applying to law school with clear goals and purpose.

Recognize and embrace the transition for yourselves as parents.  This was easier for J Bruce than it was for Lisa.  After Kevin left, we both treasured the additional time spent with our younger son, Brandon.  We began to look at life after kids, and what was important to us in our work lives, our emotional lives, and our spiritual lives.  One example of how perspective changes is after we left Kevin as a freshman, we stopped in Las Vegas on the way home to see relatives.  Lisa cried every time someone asked about Kevin!    Two years later after we dropped Brandon off for his first year at ASU, we again stopped in Las Vegas.  This time, there were few tears.  Instead we celebrated our sons’ successes,  and the opportunity for renewal in our married life.

Our four year CSU journey with CSU passed quickly.   Even though we live in Southern California, and even though Kevin plans to return to the West Coast for law school, we will remain proud CSU parents!

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Healthy Student, Happy Family: A Message from the CSU Health Network

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CSUHN Banner

 

 By Marie Allen, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications, CSU Health Network

Good health is essential to academic success. The CSU Health Network is your student’s partner in staying mentally and physically healthy while at college.

Spring’s “Perfect Storm”

The end of the academic year is a busy, exciting time for students. The stress of preparing for final exams, warm weather and long days, and celebrating with friends create what campus substance abuse prevention professionals consider a “perfect storm.” This is a time when risky alcohol and other drug use peaks.

To encourage your student to stay safe during this “stormy” time of year, consider the following things you can do to encourage healthy behavior:

  • Talk to your student about their end of semester plans, including drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides some helpful resources for parents and families.
  • Discuss healthy strategies for managing stress, such as getting enough rest, exercising, eating well, and taking time to just relax.
  • Let your student know that marijuana use, possession, and distribution are still a violation of campus policy, despite the passage of Amendment 64. Just like alcohol, marijuana impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and affects coordination. It can also affect learning and memory in the long-term, and increases the risk of mental illness (and can exacerbate existing conditions).

CSU Health Network Working to Prevent Suicide

CSU takes your student’s mental health seriously. From offering fee-paying students five sessions of individual counseling per semester, to screening all patients for depression during medical encounters, to providing on-site behavioral health professionals in the medical clinic, the CSU Health Network makes your student’s mental health a top priority.

The Health Education and Prevention Services department of the CSU Health Network also develops campus-wide initiatives to focus on early identification and prevention of mental distress. Some current initiatives include stress management and mindfulness workshops and others are composed of comprehensive university-wide suicide prevention efforts. Now, two new initiatives will be added to the list.

A new interactive online screening tool will be used to invite students who may be at high risk to complete an anonymous stress and depression questionnaire. Through a personalized response from one of our trained counselors, at-risk students will be urged to meet with the counselor in person for further evaluation and discussion of treatment/support options.

The second initiative in the works engages student leaders, staff, and faculty in education about the warning signs of student distress including suicide. This training will use compelling video and group discussion to provide instruction on how to supportively connect a distressed student with campus resources.

Together these new initiatives will help us reach and respond to students who may otherwise be struggling in silence.

If you are concerned about your student, call Counseling Services at 970-491-6053 or visit the CSU Health Network Suicide Prevention page for more information.

Attention Family Members of CSU Student Health Insurance Holders

It’s time to use those Flex Dollars! If your student has been considering a visit to the dentist, optometrist, or even massage therapist, now is the perfect time to take advantage of these great services at the CSU Health Network, especially if they will be leaving campus for the summer. If your student has any of his or her $100 in Flex Dollars still available, be sure they get used before they expire on August 25.

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