As freshmen prepare to return home for winter break (some for the first time since they were catapulted onto their respective campuses), a dim refrain is beginning to resonate in my mind:
“When I got off the plane, my Mom weighed me with her eyes”. The “freshman fifteen” seems to accumulate at a more rapid pace, and with perhaps some subtext. When the expression “freshmen fifteen” was first coined, the term “eating disorder” was not as commonplace. Now students are entering college carrying more more emotional “baggage”; taking more medication; and facing more stressors. Please don’t flinch when you see your son or daughter de-plane. Don’t hug her, so you can feel the extra weight on her back. Don’t scrutinize the acne, the peircings, the tatoos, the circles under the eyes, the slept-in clothes. Unless you detect something that is truly alarming (to be discussed closer to arrival time), don’t ask the self-evident questions….at least, not yet.
This is an enormous transition, for everyone. Now they have to answer to you again, even though they have experienced unprecedented freedom these last three plus months. How does one navigate this new terrain, from either perspective? To be continued.