See You Soon! Preparing for a Long Break at Home

Hello Fellow W&M Families,

Here we are in the very full month of December and the semester is winding down. As parents of freshman and senior students (and two other adult kids), we’ve come to really enjoy the rhythm of the college experience. We savor the gear shifting, breaks, and togetherness that we can count on. This is some of what we’ve learned to take in stride.

December is the culmination of months of hard work. Students need to lean in and finish strong. Break is coming! Words of support/inspiration/admiration help. 

Before a time crunch, it’s lovely for students to remember special staff and peer relationships with a treat, visit, or card. Consider seeing the holiday beauty of Colonial Williamsburg. 

When leaving their second home, students will need to take a moment, with attention to trash, food, the thermostat, and more. RA’s will have a required checklist in the dorms (emptying/unplugging mini fridges, etc.).  Packing for a month plus requires care. Some reminders: vaccination cards, medications, chargers, passports, etc. All of this being said, not everyone leaves campus, including some international students. If your student has a friend who will remain on campus for break, consider hosting a meal or a day trip.

When the work, packing, and travel are done, it’ll be time to welcome students home! They’ll be elated with a comfortable bed, washer/dryer, privacy, and freedom. 

From our experience, we know they’ll likely sleep… a lot. If we may offer tips, it’s best to resist scheduling. Students will likely be recovering from stretches of sleep deprivation and intense focus. In time, they’ll come around and join in. 

We’ve found that negotiations about staying out late, sharing the car, and helping around the housework well when done in the spirit of mutual respect. We resist unpleasant exchanges during this valuable time. 

Finally, after celebrating and catching up with family and old friends, there’s plenty of time to be productive. Some ideas: employment, adventures, write a note of thanks to a professor, spend time online with Cohen Career Center resources, explore (a new resource for W&M about constructive dialogue), prepare for next semester, learn more about the campus community/opportunities, rate professors, get haircut/other personal care. Maybe your student will have the good fortune of experiencing an externship over break. If so, suggest a note afterward. It’s an important part of networking that is well underway.

The rhythm of college… the next beat will be Spring Break. You can count on it. These intervals won’t always be. One day, our adult kids may have different home cities, other distractions, demands, or career constrictions.  We do our best to relish these visits while we have them. We play, have philosophical discussions, and catch up on news, culture, and their academic careers as they re-charge for another round all while we have a guiding hand and positive impact. It’s a pretty special moment in time. 

Meredith and Mike McCollum  P’22, P’25

Vice Co-Chairs Parent and Family Council

Support the Parents Fund to make an impact on career development, wellness initiatives, and engagement opportunities for all students at William & Mary.

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