Summer is coming. College students are planning their summer break. What they dream is not sugar plum but sun and beaches. It is therefore necessary for parents to be prepared to hear some interesting summer break plans.
So I have an idea…
First of all, it is okay to say “No, You can’t go!” My personal opinion is parents have no business financing their kids to go party hardy for a summer. It just is the wrong message. The summer comes and goes, hopefully without incident but what is your student left with?
I am proposing that your student give you a proposal outlining what benefit they will get from their summer break plan. You can use the same process for their spring break plans.
College Students need to have a break from the books. At this age they should have fun and enjoy this period of their life. Being a student and having the time flexibility, offers an opportunity that will not come often in their life. My point is students can have fun AND be performing a service, or learning a skill, or earning pocket money. Young adults need to begin thinking beyond themselves.
Some alternatives that might work are community service, volunteer projects, Habitats for Humanity type trips. Allow them to be creative but there needs to be some substance to their plan. One parent I know sent their archeology major on a dig in France. How cool is that?
Summer Break is a great time to learn a skill and this is an opportune time. Skills could be a guitar intensive, a language intensive, or it could be learning to sky dive, or SCUBA dive. There could be some other recreational activities your student could learn that, if you have the financial resources to pay for them, could help your student in a positive way. This is a better investment for your child. They have fun and they also grow from the experience.
So, offer them something that is exciting, but doesn’t involve the drinking or drugs you see at traditional Summer and Spring Break venues. This is an age when young adults seek excitement. As a parent you might help them find socially acceptable excitement. We want our kids to have experiences but we also want them to be safe. We want their experiences to enhance their resumes.
Use this Summer Break as an opportunity to expose your young adult to new challenges. If you have a family member that lives on a farm and you live in a major city, schedule a visit. Maybe next break you expose your country relatives to life in the city. This can be an affordable option for both families. Some families have friends in different parts of the world. These breaks in the school schedule are great times to connect. This is the time for the University of Life.
If you can afford travel, your student can explore a National Park, walk the Appalachian Trail, bicycle the coast, do a summer with Habitat for Humanity. They can work in the inner city at a Recreation Department or a shelter.
Think Future. Think Resume. It will help you to make a good decision on what you as the parent of a college student will financially support. The question you need to ask? How does this build your resume? Make me a proposal.