Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tomorrow, you, my first born, my daughter, begin college. Coincidentally, the date coincides with the anniversary of my first day of employment at the same campus—22 years ago. Kids were not even in my vernacular then, while learning to navigate work at a giant research university. Whereas I was well into a career in higher education and on my third campus by that time, you are an amateur. A freshman. Have I taught you everything you need to know?
Life skill lists for college students focus on separating laundry and being able to change a tire. I am glad that you are getting the hang of laundry after begging for that help for years. It is exciting that you have figured out how to use the washing machine, if not the frequency. Do you want to learn how to change a tire? Your grandpa made me practice before leaving home. But as you do not drive, relying on your bicycle, public transportation and the kindness of friends, just remember to look both ways before crossing the street. Budgeting has been a little harder, but you have seen that bank accounts are not infinite. You are smart to take advantage of haircuts and shopping while with me!
We bridged the moving away from home event several weeks ago as you moved into off campus digs and began setting up a home. It was miserable, for ME, but you enjoyed your new-found freedom from curfews and assigned chores. Your new place is coming along nicely (do the dishes!) In hindsight, this early fleeing of the nest was good for both of us allowing new routines to be established. Less crying now, again from ME.
Sweetie, you are brilliant and ready to take on the world, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Trust me. After nearly 30 years working with college students and 18 years of being your mom, I know these things. But just a few more words of wisdom to share…
- Go to bed early. At least sometimes.
- Set two alarms (I know you like to sleep in).
- Greet the day with a smile, it has much to bring you.
- Being on time means arriving early.
- Take lots of notes in every class.
- Rewrite your notes after class and add text readings.
- Make lists, there is a lot to remember.
- Do you have an umbrella?
- Address your instructor as professor, it covers many titles.
- Drink lots of water, less caffeine.
And finally, do you remember the words of advice that I shared every day you were in elementary school? They are still important.
- Be a good friend.
- Listen to your teachers (er, professors).
- Listen more than you talk, there is much to learn.
- Always do your best.
PS. Text me a first day of college selfie!
Thank you to David J. Smith for bringing domestic student exchange to the conversation on global initiatives in Getting to “E Pluribus Unum”. As president of the nonprofit National Student Exchange organization and a former NSE campus coordinator, I shared the following comments.
National Student Exchange was founded in 1968, a time when our nation was searching to understand its identity, history, and how differences fit into the idea of American culture. What began as three institutions exchanging seven students has grown into a premier network of 160 colleges and universities exchanging 2,000 students annually throughout the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
Initiatives to enhance global engagement often overlook the diversity of North America in their quest. Scholarships and fellowships that promote international education are rarely available for domestic study away. Domestic exchanges seldom satisfy core or general educational requirements for global engagement or cultural studies, despite their cultural breadth.
Cultural agility can be greatly enhanced crossing state and provincial borders, not just oceans. NSE member campuses report domestic study away as a high impact practice supporting student satisfaction and persistence. Increasing populations of underrepresented and first-generation students are choosing NSE study away, emphasizing the need for access and choice in these opportunities. As noted by Sobania and Braskamp (2009), recent college graduates are more likely to have a post-college career with diverse colleagues from their own country than from other parts of the world.
NSE campuses range in enrollment from 600 to more than 50,000 students. In addition to AAU Research I universities, NSE member campuses include:
12 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)
21 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)
7 Urban 13 universities
14 Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)
As noted, succeeding in our political and global reality requires professionals who can operate effectively and empathetically in cross-cultural and international environments. National Student Exchange and domestic study away programs are not simply study abroad alternatives or preparatory opportunities; they are academic and personal experiences to be celebrated and encouraged for the dimension they bring to college students, degree programs, our workforce, and communities.
Sobania, N. & Braskamp, L. A. (2009). Study abroad or study away: It’s not merely semantics. Peer Review 11 (4).
I began a collection of my 2016 in photos. And then I found these photos. They also tell a story.
It could be a selfie. Jung might call that my shadow archetype.
A spoon covered in peanut butter. In my bathroom. Parenting.
With all that pink and light, it looks like a happy place.
On my laptop goofing around with my phone. Normal.
Hot chocolate for a group. I don’t remember taking this pic.
Lots of travel this year as demonstrated by this lovely seat back pocket.
There is an analogy here about warning lights and stress.
If you ignore warning lights, you have engine failure. Apparently while driving.
And finally. Screenshot of an Oregon v. Oregon State flashback. No idea.
It’s the end of 2016 and by most accounts, many are ready to see it in the rearview mirror. As conflicting as this year has been, I had wonderful opportunities for travel and forging a new professional path. It was a year of challenges, sure, but it included great time with mentors, friends, and family.
And so onward… we rouse the chase, and wake the slumbering morn of 2017. See you there!
“Economists are not certain about many things, but we are quite certain that a college diploma or an advanced degree is a key to economic success.” ~Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve chairwoman
Today, I began a new chapter in my career as president of the National Student Exchange (NSE). A not-for-profit education consortium with 170 member campuses throughout the United States and Canada, NSE facilitates the academic exchange of 2,200 undergraduate students annually.
Why encourage study away?
- 58% of students go to a college within 100 miles of their hometown
- 72% of students stay in-state for college
- Only 11% of students choose a campus 500 miles away or further
We have a great big, beautiful country (and continent) full of people, culture, and adventure. Encourage your students to get out there and see it.