The University of Mississippi!

Hold students to their promises

By Whitman Smith
Director of Enrollment Services

Whitman Smith

Whitman Smith

For many of you, the holiday break might have proved trying, based on your students’ experience in the fall semester. If memory serves, my parents and I had quite a few “discussions” regarding my progress, or lack thereof, after my first semester here, and I made many promises as a result. Now that we are fully into the spring semester, here are a couple of things to keep in mind with regard to communication.

It is easy for students to promise anything when making an argument to return in the spring after a less than successful semester, but I encourage you to do them a huge favor — if you made a deal, stick to it. Yes, they may find it hard to leave the car at home, drop the student organization, live on less money, etc., but the lesson will stay with them. Parents who set expectations and stick to them help, rather than hurt, their sons or daughters. Lessons learned now will be more likely to last, regardless of gnashing of teeth. Is it hard? Yes, but do it. Your students will thank you one day, I promise!

So, what can you do now to help them be successful?

  • Have adult conversations about how they are doing. Pretend you are talking to your best friend, not your child — it helps sometimes!
  • Remind them of their commitment to themselves and to you (a couple of times — no overkill!).
  • Encourage them. You can believe in your children and let them know you do in a variety of ways, e.g., text, email, card, phone call, Facebook post or care package.
  • Stay involved. Yes, premier tailgating is over, but spring at Ole Miss is lovely. Come visit!
  • Listen, but don’t solve their problems. You learned to solve problems, didn’t you? Time to let them do the same.

Remember, we are here if you need to get in touch with any of our student services, including the counseling center, financial aid office and, of course, enrollment services. Feel free to contact us any time, and happy spring!

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