Families: Supporting Student Learning Online
We are all navigating new terrain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rest assured that Pacific administration, faculty and staff are available to help.
We want to give you some tips to consider as you assist your student in being successful.
Supporting Your Students
Use Your (New) Resources
Resources! We always say, “Use your resources,” but what does that look like right now? Ask your student:
- Do you have a space where you are living that is distraction free?
- Have you checked if the internet connection is working properly?
- Do you have the software downloaded that you need?
- Do you have all your materials you need such as your textbooks, notes, etc.?
- Have you checked the Pacific academic support page or heard from your professor?
- Did you know the library website has online materials from faculty?
- Need assistance with the new technology? Call the Pacific University Helpdesk at 503-352-1500 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get the latest updates on how Pacific is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic at pacificu.edu/coronavirus.
- Learn more with the Office of Parent Support.
Cope with Stress
We are all under a lot of stress given the circumstances surrounding this change. It is important to remember that your student may be feeling additional pressure as we have entered that time in the semester where their workload can be overwhelming. They are in the midst of learning new material, writing final papers, and studying for tests, all while learning new systems for online classes. Remind them to take a deep breath and that you’ll be there to walk alongside them as they figure it out.
Let’s be real, many of us are having a difficult time adjusting to being displaced from our normal routine, our social interactions, and the things we had planned. It’s a struggle, especially for students, whether they had to move unexpectedly or remain on campus at Pacific. They had things they were looking forward to being a part of over the next few months that have been canceled or postponed. It’s OK to for them, and you, to feel sad, disappointed, frustrated and upset at this upheaval. We all need to navigate those emotions in a healthy way. If you feel like your student needs to talk with a mental health professional, please contact Pacific’s Student Counseling Center at 503-352-2191 during regular hours and for emergencies call 503-291-9111.
Social distancing is difficult for many, especially for extroverts. It may be tempting to connect with friends, but Oregon is now under a stay at home order from Gov. Kate Brown and many other states are as well. Reassure them this is not forever and that when restrictions are lifted they will be able to go out and do things with their friends again. As a family member we may have said in the past, “Get off your phone,” or “Why are you always online?” Right now, this is reality of how we are connecting and socially interacting. Time to embrace it! Encourage your student to get outside for a bit and take a walk while still maintaining reasonable social distancing of 4-6 feet.
Living Together Again
It may have been awhile since you and your student lived under the same roof. Not only have they changed, but your role has as well. We want to acknowledge this can be a challenge.
Accept Their Schedule
College student schedules can be very interesting. They have developed what works for them, including when they sleep, study best or work with peers. Late night study sessions are normal. It’s important to remember they may be working with peers in other time zones as well. This may be difficult to navigate, but a positive attitude from you will be super helpful as they figure it out. Just remind them to shut the lights off when they go to sleep and remind that other family members may not be on the same schedule.
You and your student may need to adjust expectations about what it means to be living together. Your student is not home for break. They are still carrying a full online course load and class schedule. Their overall schedule needs to mirror that of their normal on-campus schedule. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect them to help out, like picking up after themselves and emptying the dishwasher, but it does mean they may not be able to have dinner during normal family time or supervise their younger siblings. Your student needs time to get into the swing of their new routine. Encourage open dialogue with each other so that everyone can adjust their expectations while navigating this new normal.
Keep an Open Mind
As they have moved along in their academic career they may have different opinions and ideas than the last time you saw them. Part of college is about exploring new concepts and options. You may not agree with them and that is OK. We don’t always agree with everyone. Do offer encouraging comments, ask appropriate questions, and listen with an open mind.
Connect with Us
Please join me on Thursday evenings at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time for the next six weeks as the Student Affairs Division hosts a Family and Support System Chat. We look forward to connecting with you, offering you a place to hear from us, answer your questions, and grow together. If you have additional questions, please contact us.