Missouri State University
The Family Connection

A 4-part plan for second year success

For most college students, the first year is a total rush. New place, new space, new friends, new freedom. It goes by in a flash — one long strobe light effect. After the adrenaline of year one, there are very few welcome-back parties for sophomores. Roommates are new. Neighbors have changed. Three more years stretch out ahead; it’s time to get serious.  justin 1

Some students enter college single-minded about their professional goals and fall lock-step into required course sequences and major expectations. Most students start college with, at best, a vague notion of the kinds of courses they like. They know where they’ve excelled in the past and where they have failed. What they love most (playing in a band, hiking, skiing, doing community service, reading) may or may not translate into an academic course of study, let alone a career path. Even if students have found courses that excite them, they may see no correlation to a future direction. Think about how little life experience you had when you were 19 years old.

This uncertainty is compounded by the expectations of others. Parents get restless about how the tuition dollars are getting spent. Colleges and universities set deadlines by which students must declare a major course of study. Legislators lament about 4-year graduation rates. Student loans loom large.

Sophomore year can be a time of angst for students. Parents and families may “pile on” by pressuring their students to make decisions about majors and careers now. This can result in students feeling paralyzed — better to make no decision than to make the wrong decision. Inertia becomes a strategy for pushing back on pressure, and “sophomore slump” results.

There is another path — the “slump” is avoidable! Parents and families can become effective coaches by encouraging their students to actively embrace a year of exploration and self-examination. For students to have a strong sophomore year, they need to develop an emotional focus and do the hard work of translating their passion into a profession. Here’s how you help:

Remind your students that choosing a major doesn’t mean closing off options. When you are a teenager without significant life experience, you don’t always understand that most choices are reversible. Students may postpone declaring a major or a career direction, fearing that it’s a permanent choice that can never be undone. Of course students can change majors. Of course students’ (and adults’) career direction will change multiple times. Right now, your students are making a first choice, not the only choice ever. Change isn’t just possible; it’s probable.

Encourage your students to tolerate uncertainty. First, because this is a great life skill, but also so that they can see their sophomore year as a creative process, and a time for growth and reflection. Everything is not clear. The “right” path is not obvious. This is because there is so rarely (if ever) only one right path.

Challenge your students to see this as a year of creating scaffolding for their ongoing life choices. The point is not to wait passively for a bolt of magical insight, but to take intermediate, manageable steps that will inform their direction later. Here is a checklist of tangible steps your students can take to stay out of a swamp of inertia:


  • Find a mentor. There are many possibilities: a first-year seminar instructor, a professional academic advisor, a favorite faculty member, the advisor of a student organization, a kind financial aid worker, a mental health counselor, a work-study supervisor. These people work in higher education because they love students. They are flattered to be asked for advice.
  • Declare a major. Seems like a big hurdle, but it doesn’t need to be. The old saw “You are not your major” is absolutely true. Most majors open doors to many potential careers. Students should choose a major with only two criteria in mind — first, a content area that they love to study, and second, a content area in which they can excel academically.
  • See a career advisor. Remember the advice you’re giving about not closing off options too soon? Career counselors are experts at helping students identify and then combine their passions into real, marketable professions. (Encourage your student to visit the Missouri State Career Center.)
  • Find a study abroad program. Studying abroad is a transformative experience — nothing helps students clarify their values more. Whether your student selects a summer program, a service-learning experience or a full year of language immersion, now is the time to identify places and programs and to begin the financial planning to make it happen. (Remind your student to check-out the Missouri State Study Away office.)
  • Apply for internships. Career advisors (see #3 above) are students’ best source of internship information; professors and mentors can also provide leads. Internships make students more marketable following graduation, but even more importantly, they help students have hands-on experience to discover work-related skills and preferences. Even a disappointing internship is valuable — that’s one career field eliminated!
  • Get leadership experience. Students’ most valuable learning outside the classroom takes place in residence halls, athletics, student government, clubs and organizations, volunteer activities, outdoor recreation programs, community involvement, event planning, work-study positions and other part-time employment. Encourage your students to walk through open doors. Apply to be an RA. Apply to be a campus tour guide. Audition for a music or theater group. Campus resources abound. They are there for your student.

(by Jo Calhoun, UniversityParent.com. reprinted from https://www.universityparent.com/topics/academics/a-4-part-plan-for-second-year-success/.  Links to Missouri Resources added for Missouri State Families).


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Ask Priscilla! What events during Family Weekend don’t require tickets?

Thanks for this question. There are so many great activities during Family Weekend that you don’t need a ticket to attend. We hope you will join us for as many of these events as possible. It’s going to be a great weekend on campus.  You can find more information about the activities mentioned below on the Family Weekend website.  Order your Family Weekend football tickets here.Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Events that don’t require tickets:

  1. September 11 & 12 – Social Media Photo Booth – (Friday night) 4:00pm – 7:00pm and (Saturday morning) 8-10am
    Plaster Student Union, N.E. Lounge (across from the Info Desk)
  2. September 11 & 12 – Bear Battalion Rappelling Exhibitions sponsored by the ROTC Bear Battalion
    ROTC Rappelling Tower – 4:00pm – 6:00pm (Friday) & 8 – 10 am (Saturday)
  3. September 11, 12 & 13  – Foster Recreation Center Open House – Friday – 4pm – 9pm; Saturday – 9am – 9 pm; Sunday – 12pm – 4pm – Foster Recreation Center
  4. September 11, 12 & 13 – Ozarks Celebration Festival – Carrington Lawn
  5. September 11 – A “Night Under the Stars” at the Baker Observatory – 7:30pm – 10:30pm
    Baker Observatory, 1766 Old Hillcrest Road Webster County, MO.  This event is off the Missouri State Springfield campus. The event will be canceled in the event of rain.
  6. September 11 – Rock-n-Bowl sponsored by the Student Activities Council -7:30-10:30 pm
    Level 1 Game Center – Plaster Student Union
  7. September 12 – “Why should I care about grad school, and how to get there?” sponsored by the Missouri State Graduate College – 9:30am – 10:00am – Plaster Student Union Room 317.  This is a great session for you and your student to learn more about grad school and the reason’s it’s a good idea to start planning sooner rather than later.
  8. September 12 – Boulder Climb sponsored by the Foster Recreation Center – 11:00am – 1pm
    In front of the Foster Recreation Center
  9. September 12 – The Duane G. Meyer Library presents “Route 66 hosted by Turner & Page, the Library Bears” Family Event – 9:00am – 12noon – The Duane G. Meyer Library
  10. September 12 – Make a Difference Event – Meals-a-Million Pack-a-thon – 10:30am – 12:30pm.  While enjoying Family Weekend, spend a couple of hours volunteering at the Meals-a-Millions Pack-a-thon.  Be a #CitizenBear!
  11. September 13 – Family Weekend Sunday Worship sponsored by the Missouri State University Campus Ministers Association.  10am – Plaster Student Union Theatre
  12. September 13 – Sparkling Sunday Brunch – Blair- Shannon Dining Center – 8:00am – 12:30pm and
    Garst Dining Center – 11am – 2 pm

Contact Priscilla at pchildress@missouristate.edu or at (417) 836-3060 if you have questions.

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Junior year in college — Make it great

If the second year in college centers on reflection and decision-making, the third year is one of purpose and preparation. Students have had two years of discovery and growth and many opportunities to sample ideas and academic disciplines. They know their campus and its resources and have formed deep friendships. They are juniors.  Academic Resources for Students 2

Now the second half of their college career begins. It’s time to dig in, study hard, and prepare in earnest for independent life after college. The first two years of college are about breadth of exploration; this year is about depth of exploration in several areas:


By the beginning of their third year, most students have completed their General Education requirements and declared a major (or two) and possibly a minor or secondary concentration. The major is the depth portion of the curriculum, and it really matters — students are committing to rigorous study which will make a difference in their life choices following graduation.

A major usually requires the completion of 8-12 courses of increasing rigor and complexity. Courses are more specialized, covering narrower topics in more detail. More content will stay with them. They no longer study just to prepare for a test but rather dive into an academic discipline that will hone their critical and analytical thinking skills, their writing and research skills, their quantitative ability and more.

This is a perfect time for students to cultivate relationships with professors. Major courses are typically much smaller than earlier survey courses and often discussion-based. Papers and projects receive closer examination by faculty members. Feedback is more detailed; standards are higher.

Encourage your student to inquire about research opportunities with faculty members. Faculty members continually engage in their own research (not just in the sciences, but in all disciplines). They may be supported by graduate students, but most faculty members also welcome undergraduates to their research teams. Many institutions provide financial support to students for the completion of independent research under the direction of a faculty member. What a useful and interesting way to spend a summer, and what a great resume builder.

Relationships with faculty members are also important for students’ post-graduation plans. First, students should get to know one or two professors well enough to seek professional references from them. Second, professors are the most important source of guidance as students consider graduate study options. Having a faculty mentor is priceless.

Much has been written about the relationship between the choice of a college major and future earnings. One way for students to navigate these murky waters is to look for marketable combinations of academic study — a history major and a business minor; a communications major and a Spanish minor (or double major); a biology major and the completion of pre-med requirements. A visit to a career counselor can be productive at this point. Career counselors are masters at identifying combinations of study that allow students to pursue multiple passions simultaneously.

Regardless of major, most importantly, this is a time for students to load up academically and to excel in the classroom. Employers are looking for excellence. The confusing reality is that GPA does matter — sometimes. GPA certainly matters when students apply to graduate schools. And some employers use a minimum GPA as a cut-off to eliminate job applicants. Other employers never ask. Either way, for students, the discipline of excelling in the classroom is its own reward.

Study abroad

Many students study abroad during their third year. The experience of being in a new culture seems to spring students open. It is so stimulating, so eye-opening. Students return to campus feeling “different,” more interested in new things, less interested in the same-old, same-old. Be open to how the study abroad experience might change your students’ academic or professional direction. Capitalize on your students’ new confidence and independence — encourage other new experiences and opportunities that might clarify their strengths and professional direction.

Leadership opportunities

Part of your students’ professional preparation definitely involves the acquisition of leadership skills. By their third year, students can go in depth in one or two extracurricular activities and take a leadership position. Experience is experience; it doesn’t matter whether it’s paid or unpaid. The ability to lead a large student organization — to plan events, manage budgets, head committees — is professional, resume-building experience. And fun.

Professional experience

By the end of junior year, students will benefit from having completed one or more paid or unpaid internships. Planning and applying for internships should therefore happen right at the start of third year. Most colleges and universities are well-organized to help students find relevant internships, either through the career center or through students’ major academic departments. Parents’ own professional networks are often the best source of internship opportunities.

In addition, part-time work on or off campus is valuable. Students establish an employment track record, test their aptitudes and interests, and develop professional references. Part of students’ education involves investigating and exploiting opportunities in the surrounding community. There’s reciprocity here — the community benefits from the intellect and creativity of the college students in their midst as students contribute to the public good.

In all of these professional settings, building relationships builds references.

Plan for next summer

That work starts now. Students have one more summer to gain in-depth academic experience through research with a faculty member or professional experience through an internship or a job. No more life-guarding or burger-flipping. The summer before senior year needs to be a natural extension of the professional preparation that has happened during third year. Did your students study abroad? Don’t be surprised if they want to go back. But it’s reasonable to ask them to put together a plan that will include resume-strengthening experience.

And if your students haven’t yet drafted a resume, urge them to run, not walk, to the career center for coaching and advice. Most seniors will be applying for jobs or to graduate programs. The resume is an important, tangible tool to launch that process.

Students’ junior year can be the happiest of their college career. Their academic work is purposeful and satisfying, their confidence is growing, and an initial sense of professional direction is emerging. They’ve settled in with a tight group of friends and have found extracurricular activities that enrich their daily lives.

Although most adults don’t experience one straight-line trajectory towards a single, “forever” professional path, the competencies your students develop during their college years can position them to make wise choices at each professional fork in the road…and you can help by your continuing support and coaching.

(by Jo Calhoun, reprinted from www.universityparent.com)

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Ask Priscilla! Can you tell me a little more about move-in weekend activities for family members?

Yes, I would love to tell you about the activities we have planned for families during Move-in Weekend. For your student, the weekend will be filled with many fun activities such as Playfair, Fan Fest and Bear Bash, New Student Convocation (featuring Kyle Dean Massey), New Student Festival, Fraternity & Sorority Life 101 and the Belong-B-Que! Your student will have a great time getting acclimated to campus and connecting with other Bears. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

For you, the family member, we have some activities that we feel you will enjoy, learn more about the experience after your student starts classes and have some time to reconnect with your student before heading home on Saturday. These include Family Information Sessions, the President’s Reception for Families and the “See You Later” Brunch. Throw in a women’s soccer exhibition game and you have a great weekend in front of you. Let me share a few details with you:

Family Welcome Session – August 14th, 3pm or 4pm – Plaster Student Union Theatre

Join us for an interactive, entertaining welcome session that delves more into campus life for your student. There are two sessions and you are welcome to pick the session you would like to attend. Refreshments are served (and after a hot day of moving, you will enjoy the cool theatre and sweet treats). All family members and students are welcome.  We have some special guests joining us for each session so don’t miss the opportunity to cool off, meet other family members and find out more about campus life at MSU.

Women’s Soccer Exhibition Game vs. Arkansas State University – 6 pm
Betty and Bobby Allison South 17813_6546 WSoccer

Throw on your best Bear Wear and head out to the soccer field to watch our women’s soccer team take on Arkansas State University in an exhibition game.  Enjoy the game then head over to the President’s Reception for New Families. Admission is free.

President’s Dessert Reception for New Families – August 14th, 7pm – 8:30pm
Davis-Harrington Welcome Center

UPDATEDPresident Reception

Join President Clif Smart and his wife Gail for a lovely dessert reception in the new Davis-Harrington Welcome Center.  Relax after a day of moving, visit with faculty, staff and administrators, enjoy delicious desserts provided by Missouri State Dining Services and mingle with other families of the Class of 2019 while your student enjoys Play Fair and other activities. The deadline to RSVP is August 7th. RSVP here. Families only.

“See You Later” Brunch – August 15th, 11am
Garst Dining Center or Blair-Shannon Dining Center

Enjoy a delicious brunch with your student in one of our fabulous dining centers before heading home. Parents eat free with their student. Additional guests are $6.50 each.

There are also lots of activities going on in Springfield August 14-16th including the Route 66 Festival which will feature lots of great activities such as concerts, car shows, parades, a 6.6 run and more. Find out more here.

We hope you will join us for all the activities we have planned but it is ultimately you and your student’s decision about what is best for your family. If you have any questions, contact me at pchildress@missouristate.edu or by phone at (417) 836-3060.

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Ask Priscilla! What are Bear Bucks?

Bear Bucks are the University’s declining balance account for your student’s BearPass card operated by Blackboard.

Bear Bucks can be used at all campus vendors, including Plaster Student Union restaurants (except the bank and the Post Office which is cash only), Bear Necessities. the Meyer Library and the Bookstore. If you invest in Bear Bucks your student will only need his/her BeBear bucks small imagearPass for most on-campus purchases. Your student would only have one card instead of cash/change or several other cards in his/her wallet.

There are no fees, minimum balance requirements or other stipulations like a bank card has.  Since Bear Bucks is a declining balance account, it cannot go into overdraft. That feature avoids costly fees that banks impose. Bear Bucks is a safer, more efficient way for your student to keep and spend their money on campus. Furthermore, Bear Bucks do not expire.

There are two ways to add more money to your student’s Bear Bucks account.   Money can be added online through his/her “mymissouristate” portal or in person at the Bursar’s Office in Carrington Hall.

Learn more information about Bear Bucks and the Bear Pass card here.


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Ask Priscilla! How do I order football tickets for the Family Weekend/season home opener football game?

This year the Family Association is selling the discounted Family Weekend football tickets directly.   Ordering football tickets for the Family Weekend/season home opener is easy.   Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

You do not have to register for all of the Family Weekend activities to order football tickets but we encourage you to look at the schedule of events and the different packages available and join us for one or all of the events taking place September 11-13th.

Football tickets for your student are complimentary but you need to include the student in the total tickets needed. If you want to order JUST football tickets, order the Go Maroon package.

Register/Purchase Football Tickets (again, you pick the events you want to attend or just football tickets) for Family Weekend now.




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Register For Family Weekend 2015

Please join us for Family Weekend on Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13.  This special weekend gives parents and family members of our students an opportunity to experience campus life at Missouri State, spend time with your student in their new environment, and enjoy lots of fun campus events.  These events include:  FW logo (maroon)

  • Welcome Breakfast hosted by the Career Center
  • Student Showcase and BBQ hosted by the Office of Student Engagement & the Student Activities Council
  • Make a Difference Event – Meals-a-Million Packathon – Be a #CitizenBear
  • Dive-In Movie hosted by Foster Recreation Center
  • Legacy Family Dessert Social hosted by the Alumni Association
  • Rappelling offered by the Missouri State ROTC Bear Battalion
  • “Route 66 hosted by Turner & Page, the Library Bears” Family Event hosted by the Meyer Library
  • Bears Football vs. Chadron and BearFest Village, our traditional pre-game tailgate
  • Plus a lot more!

The Family Weekend page has a full schedule of events listed, as well as information about packages available, discounted football tickets and local hotel accommodations.

Please check these pages frequently, as we will add and update information as the date approaches. “Like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/msufamilies) and follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies).

Early bird registration ends August 7, 2015.  Registration for Family Weekend except and family discount football tickets will close Friday, September 4th.

NOTE: Tickets for Bearfest Village Tailgate, Student Showcase and Welcome Breakfast are limited and subject to selling out before September 4th.

Register for Family Weekend here.

If you have any questions, please contact Priscilla at pchildress@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-3060. A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

We look forward to seeing you at Family Weekend!

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Ask Priscilla! I’m worried that my student is never going to tell me any of their grades in college. Is there a way I can still see my student’s grades?

Excellent question. It’s a little unnerving for family members to start the “letting grow” process.  This is especially true when it comes to your students grades. For the past 12 years, you saw the grades on report cards, tests that had to be signed, you knew their schedule. You attended parent/teacher conferences which provided insight in to ways you could help your student. You set times for your student to study. You had some control. Now, not so much. It’s understandable that you are worried about this aspect of college. Missouri State is here to help you bridge the gap between knowing everything about grades and trusting your student is in control of their academics.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

It’s time for you to have PIE. That’s right, PIE. Not your typical cherry or apple. PIE is the acronym for Partners in Education, a program which aims to help first-year students and their families build a relationship of trust and communication, with the goal of improving students’ academic success and retention. When your student enrolls in the PIE program, he/she grants a designated partner (usually a parent or family member) authorization to access information regarding his/her academic progress for their first year (only their first year). The partner will also be mailed the student’s mid-term and final grade reports.

Students can enroll by visiting the Partners in Education link on the Academics tab of their My Missouri State portal. Contact the academic assistance office at 417-836-8346 or visit www.missouristate.edu/sdpa/PartnersInEducation.htm to learn more. Please note that only the academic assistance office personnel may release academic information to the partner indicated on the PIE form.

Something to remember…students may withdraw permission to release information to the partner at any time. Also, the PIE Program doesn’t override FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). The release does not apply to personal counseling, health, or financial information protected by FERPA. However, if your student is experiencing problems in these areas, University staff will be happy to assist in identifying available resources.

Encourage your student to learn more about the PIE program. This program is a great bridge between the high school years and your student accepting the responsibility for their academic career. Start the conversation with your student about time-management, open communication with his/her professors, and utilizing academic resources on campus such as the Bear Claw. Let your student know you support him/her as they start this next chapter in their life.


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6 Ways Parents Can Communicate Better With Their 20-Somethings

Whether technology is a blessing, a curse or a mix of both, it’s surely the newest frontier — and possible battleground — between parents and their twentysomethings.  miranda article

Today, kids have buds stuck in their ears and fingers attached to their touchpads. Tomorrow we all might have neural chips embedded in our brains.

But however the digital landscape transforms, the underlying issues between parents and their emerging adults will remain the same. Today’s twenty-somethings are becoming separate, autonomous adults amidst this new landscape of ballooning social media and constant connection. Both the potential and the pitfalls play out during the dance of attachment and separation that marks the 20s decade. The promise of closeness is greater than it’s ever been before, but so are the dangers that result from relentless communication that can skew over-the-top.

Today’s 24/7 entanglement can ensnare both generations in a web that’s now worldwide. As Berkeley, Calif. family therapist Sherri Glucoft Wong puts it, for a parent who’s tempted by a child’s unlocked diary, “The Internet is one big, unlocked diary!” Let both sides beware.

Finding the right balance is personal to every family and may set the pattern — for better or worse — for years to come. Here are six tips to help you and your grown kids keep the channels open with as little static as possible:

1. Do respect the shifts in contact during your kids’ 20s.
Digital contact ebbs and flows through the stormy weather and calmer zones of the 20s. There’s often a barrage of calls, texts and emails during the early launching years when kids first leave home and burst with hot-off-the-presses news, the need for a helping hand or a cash infusion. Newly arrived college students may still rely on parents’ guidance in making decisions — which classes to take, how to resolve roommate disagreements and the best way to open a bank account. But as students get their bearings and build new networks, calls, texts and emails usually drop off.

Just as the mother of a toddler tries to gauge how much separation her child can handle with games of peekaboo or increasingly longer forays into the world on her own, so it goes years later with college students far from home. You want to be available when needed but also convey the message that you have faith that your grown kids can handle things and manage well on their own. You may also want to be clear that you’re doing OK on your own, too, not crying by yourself in their empty bedrooms.

2. Do observe good boundaries in cyberspace, as elsewhere.
Digital communication is a two-way street, and parents of emerging adults need to take care that they’re not overwhelming their grown kids with a messaging blitz in whatever media are available. Just because you can reach them anywhere or any time doesn’t mean you have to send a text on a Saturday night or expect an email to be answered seconds after you send it. Give them the same privacy and growing-room that you craved as a young adult away from home for the first time.

Your good-advice e-messages may be meant well (Don’t forget to sign up for Professor So and So’s seminar! Go to the health service for that cough!), but when too many pile up, they’ll become background music, easy to tune out. And if you encourage your grown kids to text requests night or day (How do I change my printer cartridge? What’s the capital of Slovakia?), you may be discouraging them from figuring things out for themselves.

3. Do use the right method to reach your kids where they live.
Most 21st century parents have figured out that leaving kids a voicemail and expecting a call back is whistling in the wind (“Mailbox is full”…since 2005). Email is slightly more effective, but can still be stonewalled. If you want a quick answer from your kids, LRN 2 TEXT. Texting is so quick, easy and uninflected, it’s more note passing than writing, and like an all-night diner, it’s always open for business. It can be done on the fly; in fact, it’s the preferred medium for the on-the-fly generation — from class, from cars (unsafely), from parties and from restaurants in the middle of elaborate meals. Even living in the same house, some parents have noticed that it’s easier to get their twentysomethings’ attention by texting, not talking.

4. Do think twice before becoming Facebook friends with your kids — and their friends.
Some twentysomethings may be more into Facebook than others, but more than any other social networking site, Facebook is still the global town square where the under-30 generation hangs out (or at least visits occasionally), meets and breaks up, tracks who’s dating and who split up, and who likes — or dislikes — which band, movie and political issue. Seen from a developmental perspective, Facebook is an arena where the identity issues of emerging adulthood are played out, as users assemble the self they wish to present to the world. But is this persona intended for mom or dad?

The Facebook currency is “friends,” those people to whom your Facebook page is linked. In theory, there are privacy settings or “groups” on Facebook that allow some friends to see more of a user’s profile than others, and these concentric circles of familiarity could help transfer to cyberspace the friends-with-etiquette relationship between parents and emerging adults. In theory, a college student could let her parents view her beach photos from spring break … and hide the ones where she’s dancing on bar tables.

Since Facebook’s privacy settings are often in flux, observe the same sensitivity about closeness versus distance in cyberspace that you do elsewhere. For example, if you are Facebook friends with your kids, you might look at the photos they post…but refrain from leaving a trail of comments on their wall. Likewise, don’t post anything cringe-inducing about them on your page. And a word to the wise: if you become “friends” with their current girlfriend or boyfriend, then when a break-up occurs, that former lover will be able to track any new relationship in photos on your page. During these years of changing partners and tender feelings it’s something to think about before you click “accept.”

5. Do learn to read your child’s communication clues.
Most parents develop a second sense about when their grown children need encouragement and when they want to be left alone to puzzle things out on their own. Unmade or unanswered calls may just mean a grown child’s life is happily full and attention is elsewhere. But unexpected, unexplained silences can also be a sign of trouble brewing or a crisis that has deepened into despair. You have to make a sensible judgment about each child and each situation based on what you know about your child. If a longer than usual silence suggests that a child is having a hard time or a recent call home has been particularly emotional, it might be time to follow up with an email or text: “Send me a brief message to say you’re OK” (or arrange a future call).

6. Do model the digital behavior you’d like your grown kids to follow.
If you repeatedly answer texts while you’re with your kids or sink into long phone conversations while they’re visiting, they might feel it’s just fine to do the same. If you want to share quality time together, model good digital use so your kids feel they have your full attention when you’re together in real life.

(By Elizabeth Fishel and Jeffrey Arnett, reprinted from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/04/communicating-with-grown-children_n_7463726.html)

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Ask Priscilla! What is the Common Reader?

The Common Reader, a program for our first-year students,  is an integral part of the Missouri State public affairs mission. It’s not just an assignment or busy work for our students, it’s a tool to enhance the first-year student’s experience, encourage the students to think about the public affairs mission and to start having conversations with their fellow students about the Missouri State and the global community.

This year’s common reader is The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore.  It’s a story of  two boys, same name but life paths completely different.  the_other_wes_moore_thumb

There are several goals of the Common Reader Program. They are:

  • Establish an opportunity for first-year students to understand their responsibility as engaged learners in an academic community.
  • Set expectations for student success by emphasizing the importance of reading, writing and critical thinking in the University environment.
  • Create a sense of community by increasing interdisciplinary thinking and dialogue among students, faculty and staff through shared academic and co-curricular experiences.
  • Promote a deeper understanding of the public affairs mission and it’s wider societal impact through a critical analysis of a common reader.

“Missouri State University’s common reader program provides a common academic experience and creates a greater sense of community among students, faculty and staff. It also offers an introduction to intellectual life at Missouri State University. ” Dr. Rachelle Darabi, Associate Provost for Student Development and Public Affairs

Please consider joining us in reading The Other Wes Moore. It’s an excellent book.  Reading the book and discussing it with your student is great way to start the conversation about the impact of the book and the Missouri State public affairs mission. Learn more about the common reader program.

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