The semester is quickly ending. While your student enjoyed the Thanksgiving Break, they probably also worked did some school work. It wasn't all relaxation...and neither will the next 2 weeks. They will fly by as students complete their last-minute projects and assignments and prepare and complete their final exams. This newsletter is all about supporting your student through this busy time and preparing you for their winter break.
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In This Issue
December is an incredibly stressful time for students. From academic to social pressures, they’re likely being pulled in a number of directions. Here are some “stress-busting” tips you can offer your student as they prepare to demonstrate all they have learned this semester:
- Snack on healthier choices, instead of fatty fixes. Yogurt, a piece of fruit or a granola bar are all quick and easy to grab while you are studying.
- Have a 5-minute dance party in your room – by yourself or with a few friends. There is nothing like moving your body and feeling good doing it!
- Play a quick round of solitaire, Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, or another game for some creative, mind-bending fun.
- Take advantage of fun things in the local community such as the Holiday in the Park or a hike at the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge for some de-stressing fun. This is a great way to get recharged and ready to ace exams.
- Head to the Aggie Rec Center to sweat or swim that stress away. Go running, join in on a yoga class or play some impromptu hoops. Balance your mind, body and spirit and you’ll be better prepared.
- Take a movie break. Watch a comedy for some good laughs or a holiday classic to escape the stress.
- Get enough sleep! Students often skimp on sleep, which is the one area that you shouldn’t. Making sure you are well-rested will ensure that you can think at your best.
In addition to your words of encouragement, here are some specific ways you can support your student during this stressful time:
- Texting to check in so your student knows you care, but not being offended if they take some time to respond.
- Waiting to discuss important details or have thoughtful conversations until after finals are over—when possible.
- Understanding the pressure they are facing and validating their frustrations and stress levels.
- Helping them keep things in perspective (i.e. this will all be over in just a few weeks, grades aren’t everything, etc.).
- Offering to take responsibility for the things you can (i.e. picking up gifts or running last minute errands, etc.).
- Reminding them to take care of themselves—this is probably the last thing they’ll want to hear (“Sleep? Are you kidding?”), but the reminders to get adequate sleep and food are still important.
Overall, your student may just need a listening ear during these next few weeks. If that’s the case, let them vent, validate their feelings and then remind them just how much you love them. More often than not, this is the most helpful thing you can do during this busy time of year.
Encouraging your student to keep their anxiety level down will help them keep things in perspective too. Finals aren’t the end-all, be-all. Although it can be tough to consider, there are many, many other important aspects of college and life. Remind your student that taking good care of themselves during this time is what’s most important, so they can put their best foot forward and feel good about their performance.
First semester grades will soon arrive on your doorstep. What are you expecting as far as your student’s grades are concerned? Are you prepared to have the appropriate conversations with your student about their academic performance? Regardless of whether or not they got all As or all Ds, addressing grades should be a priority this winter.
No matter what, though, try to keep in mind two important things:
- College is about so much more than grades.
- The grades belong to your student—they are their responsibility and if they’ve done poorly, now it’s their choice whether or not to work even harder to pull up their overall average.
This isn’t easy to swallow, especially if you’re the one paying the bills. But, if you can remember these two things, it might make having the conversation a little bit easier.
For the student who has done well:
- Celebrate! Getting good grades in college is tough to do, especially for first-year students and those balancing coursework with athletics, a job, or other co-curricular activities.
- Discuss what your student learned this past semester. Which class was most engaging and why? What were they able to apply from classes to their life outside of classes? Will they be taking any additional courses to further explore a particular subject area?
- Review study techniques and other preparation strategies that worked well. What tricks did your student discover for themselves? Will they be using the same strategies next semester? Will they be trying anything new?
For the student who hasn’t done so well:
- Explore the reasons for the performance. The why behind the poor grades is what is most important. Perhaps your student is struggling with a professor and needs support in handling the situation. Or, maybe your student spent too many nights goofing off and not enough nights studying. Whatever the case, get to the root of the issue and address it.
- Seek to understand. What’s done is done. It’s important to focus on fixing the issues so that this doesn’t happen again.
- Brainstorm some strategies for improvement. Although college students are considered “adults,” they still need help. It could prove very helpful to sit down and brainstorm together.
Some potential areas to discuss include:
- Daily study habits
- Skill sets including note taking, writing, reading, and test taking
- Time management
- Class schedule
- Out-of-class involvements and responsibilities
No matter their grades this semester, make sure you touch base with your student about their major and their career goals to ensure they are on the patyh that will get them where they want to go. They can alsways chat with their advisor for advice and help maintaining momentum.
In any event, let your student know that you’re on their side. While getting good grades is your student’s responsibility, being confident that they have your support will make a world of difference. You’ll be less likely to get surprised with poor grades too, as you’ll be able to maintain open lines of communication—about the As and the Ds. Remember, college is all about learning. Sometimes, it’s the flops that teach the most.
The holiday season is upon us, which means that soon your student will be on school break. This is an exciting time; for many families, it means the opportunity to spend more time together and catch up on the previous semester. Part of you may be thrilled to spend more time with your student, but you also may also feel some apprehension.
To help you all manage the transition positively, keep a few things in mind:
- Don’t Overplan Your Student. You may want to go shopping, visit relatives, bake, golf, and go to the movies with your student. Nothing wrong with that! Just be sure to leave some wiggle time for them to spend with friends and to recoup from the semester, too. Also, they may have been living independently for the past semester and they are not used to having someone else make plans for them.
- Negotiate Expectations Ahead of Time. Let your student in on what’s been planned so far so that you both can agree on what the expectations are. This will allow everyone to be on the same page about what will happen over break.
- Find Out Schedules. Some students stay up until 3 am and sleep until noon. Consider asking your student about their sleeping schedule so you’re not expecting them at 9 am every morning!
- Talk About “House Rules.” Will your student still have a curfew? Can they have friends stay overnight? Talk now so you can come up with the rules together and avoid arguments.
- Be Prepared for Change. Some of your student’s views may have altered because of things they learned in a class or actions they experienced through a campus organization. It’s all part of the college experience as they come into their own. Change can be good. Be open to it.
If conflicts do arise in the household, listen and engage your student. Keep an open mind and try to see things from their perspective. It’s likely that everyone in the household has changed and there will be a readjustment period to get everyone working back in sync.
Give your student a heads up about any major changes that have taken place in your home these last few months. This will help ease the transition.
What is an Aggie?
In its purest sense, an Aggie is someone from the farm. The name was commonly given to students attending agricultural schools, and that’s where Cameron comes in. Founded in 1908 as a high school, the Cameron State School of Agriculture provided farm training and education, along with room and board to children of rural families. It wasn’t long after it opened that students began calling themselves “Aggies.”
For more than a century, the name has stuck, but not without a few challenges. In the 1920s, Cameron State School of Agriculture became the “Cowboys” for a couple of years before returning to the Aggie name. Then, in 1968, Cameron administrators wanted us to become the Cardinals as part of our transition to a university … but students would have none of it. As recently as 2003 it was suggested that the Aggie name no longer was an accurate way to describe a Cameron student. The school came unbelievably close to changing the name of its sports team to the Cavalry – until a wise alumnus noted that “it doesn’t matter what you call us, we’ll always be Aggies.”
Important Phone Numbers
Dean of Students - 580.581.2244
Academic Advising Center - 580.581.6741
Office of Campus Life - 580.581.2217
Office of Financial Assistance - 580.581.2293
Office of Student Development - 580.581.2209
Student Wellness Center - 580.581.6725
Upcoming Campus Dates
Tuesday, December 3 - Cameron University Tree Lighting @ CU-Duncan
Tuesday, December 3 - Happy Spaliday sponsored by PAC
Wednesday, December 4 - Cameron University Tree Lighting @ Lawton
Friday, December 6 - CU Concert Choir Concert
Monday, December 9 - Friday, December 13 - Final Exams
Tuesday, December 17 - Final Grades posted to Aggue Access by 4:00pm
Wednesday, December 18 - Faculty Offices close at 5:00pm
Thursday, December 19 - Wednesday, January 1 - University offices closed
Thursday, December 19 - Women's and Men's Basketball vs. Lubbock Christian
Saturday, December 21 - Women's and Men's Basketball vs. Angelo State