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[Fresh] Last thoughts

This is a posting from Fresh@News, Villanova's e-mail newsletter for parents and friends of the class of 2012.  See below for information about subscribing or unsubscribing from this service. 


In just a few days, the class of 2012 will have completed freshman year!  Not surprisingly, the experience has been different for each freshman. At least from our perspective, however, the class as a whole has done a great job, making a successful adjustment to college living, learning a great deal both in their subjects and about themselves, and, already making their own mark on Villanova through their contributions.


By now most of you are experts on the care and feeding of college freshmen on vacation, so we won’t bore you with warnings about how much they will sleep, how late they will want to stay up, how much they will like their new rules better than your old ones, or how much time some of them will want to spend with their friends rather than their families.


We have some advice for friends and family.  Please do everything you can to help the students continue their learning and growth over the summer.  Here are some different ideas:

  • We see a lot of anxiety about careers in our students, but that anxiety does not always translate into productive learning and exploration of the world of work. The summer after freshman year is a great time for students to start getting some detailed knowledge about some actual careers.  It is a perfect opportunity for students to reach out to friends of the family who have interesting careers to do information interviews.  So the students should identify a few people in exciting fields and meet with them and ask them about how they got into their field, what they do, and what kind of opportunities there are for a young person.  In other words, they aren't asking for jobs, just seeking understanding.   However, sometimes these information interviews do lead to a terrific internship for next summer. 
  • Many of our students do a lot of service and volunteer work during the year, but summer vacation doesn’t have to be a vacation from service.  Indeed, identifying local service projects that the whole family can participate in is a great way for students and families to learn together.
  • Many of our students are so busy during the year that they really don’t have time for reading on their own.  But summer is a time when they can pick up the habit again, so don’t hesitate to encourage students to explore new ideas through their reading as well (although they might not be too receptive to reading any thing in the first week or two at home).
  • Sometimes our students have a tendency to keep their learning in silos, separating their courses from the rest of their lives.  But if you have an active interest in what they learned and studied this semester and ask appropriate questions (but not just: “what did you learn in school this semester”) you’ll be amazed at how much sophistication they have gained in their first year. The most useful thing, of course, is to help them connect what they have learned in their courses to what is going on in the world around us.  A student who has taken macro economics, for example, should be able to help you understand all the news about the financial crisis.

Since this is the last posting of Fresh@News, we also wanted to thank you for your attention and for the many nice responses you have sent us.  If you have thoughts about additional topics that we should cover next year, we are always eager for suggestions.  Meanwhile, best wishes for a pleasant summer, enjoy your newly minted sophomore, and try to resist reminding him or her that the word “sophomore” is a Greek term for “wise fool.” 


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No official news or policy statements are included in this service.  The postings provide supplemental background information for parents and friends of the class.  While the information is as accurate as possible, all information is subject to change without notice.