To a New College Freshman: An Open Letter from the University Chaplain

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Dear Student,

This is one of the most exciting times of your life. You are moving out of mom and dad’s house. You’re done with answering to curfew. And you are meeting more new people and getting to know them better than you ever have.

But I know you are also really anxious. You’re afraid that you won’t get along with your roommate. You’re afraid you won’t be able to pay the bills. You’re scared that you won’t fit in. You don’t know what to do when your car breaks down, your bank account is empty, or even when your clothes need washed. Most of all, you’re afraid that you will disappoint people when you don’t live up to expectations.

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To the Parents of a College Freshman: An Open Letter From Their Chaplain

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Dear Parent,

I know that this can be a really difficult day/week/month. Sometimes it is made sad by your son/daughter’s excitement. It is always ridden with anxiety.

Today your relationship changes. You are still their parent. You always will be. You don’t have to worry about “losing” them. And don’t let the fear of losing them cause you to not let them grow up. They are ready to not have curfew, ask permission to stay up until 2 AM, or tell you whether they did their homework. They NEED to make decisions about majors, classes, and roommate choices on their own. If you give them enough freedom on these decisions then they may even take joy in asking your opinion. And they may even learn to do that for big decisions for their entire life.

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