Partnering for Success: Parents, Students and Southwestern
The following scenarios are real and common. As parents of new students,
we would like you to think about how you and your family would respond in
these situations. These scenarios will be the topics for discussion at the
“Partnering for Success: Parents, Students and Southwestern” session
on Sunday, Aug. 15, at 9 a.m. during Parent Orientation. The facilitators
at each table will share available resources and common approaches for
handling various situations.
Scenario 1: Your student IS going to be a doctor. At least that is what she has always said and believed. She has been successful in her high school math and science courses, has shadowed a hometown physician and plans to take a very rigorous course load her first year at Southwestern. Now, it is October, the first half of the first-year of Biology sequence has just concluded, and your student is NOT going to be a doctor. How do you help her come to terms with this situation? To whom would you suggest she talk?
Scenario 2: Your son has never shared a room before. Neither has his roommate. Initially, things were great. Your son brought the X-Box; his roommate brought the Wii. They both have comparable sleep schedules (minimal). But not it’s October, and your son is not happy. The roommate is too different, too close, too loud, too inconsiderate, too everything. Your son starts isolating himself from the roommate in order to avoid being around him. This also means isolating himself from his suite mates and other neighbors. He’s stressed and his academic performance and overall happiness begin to suffer. All of the sudden he feels Southwestern may not be right for him. How do you react to your son’s feelings? What do you suggest he do? What is your family’s expectation about grades? What constitutes “good performance”?
Scenario 3: Your daughter is very liberal in her ideals and values and has always “marched to the beat of her own drum.” She stands up for what she believes is right, debates anyone who will engage in an argument with her (and usually wins - she’s incredibly well-informed), but has trouble being tolerant of those whose values and opinions differ from her own. She is in a class with a few like-minded students, but tends to find herself being the outspoken one. She is always prepared for class and always ready for discussion, but is often put in the position of representing the “liberal viewpoint.” She’s getting frustrated because she feels her professor and her classmates have categorized her narrowly and are viewing her as the instigator. Outside class, people are distancing themselves from her, her hall mates have begun avoiding her and she’s feeling very alone. She is not finding her niche at Southwestern. During the holiday break, she decides she wants to transfer. How do you help her work through this? What would you try to help her consider about her approach to this situation?
Scenario 4: Your son, like most Southwestern students, is a really strong student and has always had a pretty easy time earning As and Bs in his courses. At the end of the first semester he is distressed upon receiving his final grade in one of his classes—a C+. The class is one required for his major and he is worried that he has to change all his future plans if he doesn’t do better. He also doesn’t understand why he earned a C+. What is your reaction as a parent? How do you advise him to proceed?