5 things university students want parents to relax about

A university student explains why you shouldn't worry about these tricky situations.

By Jacqueline To

Grades & drugs
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It must be hard to see your child leave for university. As a parent, you want to watch over every step of their life, packing their lunch boxes, teaching them important life lessons and making sure they stay out of trouble. Eventually, your child will mature and it is his or her responsibility to take care of themselves and decide right from wrong.

Pre-parenthood, you probably had to deal with bad influences of your own. In university or college, teenagers may drink, smoke and encounter the same experiences as you. Do you remember having your first drink at a party? As a university student, I have seen first-hand how many students vow to never drink again after a night out.

We students make mistakes and learn from them, just like you have. Learning from our experiences is a part of life. This allows us to become more responsible and mature and prepares us for future decisions. So relax mom and dad, your children are not the stereotypical teenagers you see on television, but are real people that have their own values, responsibilities and goals.

Here are 5 things your kids want you to relax about.

1. 
"Stop getting mad because I got a B-. You're stressing me out!"
Unlike the ones you’ve grown used to seeing throughout your child’s time at high school, university marks can be quite different. If your child is living away from home, they will not have anyone addressing their time management skills, and will have to manage their time on their own.

Many first-year students find themselves with lower-than-expected grades because they have not adjusted to university life. The work effort that resulted in an A grade in high school can become a B (or even lower) in university. After first year, students usually adjust to their independent environment, but this doesn't mean they will receive a better marks.

Though they may have given all their effort, the professor may not have liked their work and with many courses, the grade you receive may not always reflect the amount of effort and time spent on an assignment. Fine art paintings and English opinion pieces are great examples of how marks alone cannot truly judge a piece of work. When your child has put forth their best effort, it is an achievement to them whether or not they received a high mark.

2. 
"Don't worry mom, we're not smoking pot everyday."
In 2007, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health Ontario reported a major decrease in drug use among teens since 1999. Adolescent marijuana use has dropped from 32 per cent to 29 per cent, hallucinogens from 13 to six per cent, and surprisingly, smoking cigarettes has decreased from 28 to 12 per cent.

Students who come across marijuana and other drugs during their first year may experiment with them once or twice, but not all always. I have seen some first-year students declining the offer of a joint during frosh week. If a student does not want to be involved in a certain activity, they generally have no problem declining it. Curiosity is a way to experience life lessons. Despite a student's experimentation with drugs, they still have priorities to look after and goals to accomplish.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn more about teens and drinking on page 2


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