From the Parish Nurse

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Dear Church Family,

My baby (who is now 22 years old) just graduated from college!!  He is glad to be done and on to the next phase in his life.  He “enjoyed” most of his time in college as did my girls.  But there were a few rough patches along the way for all of them.

A number of you have kids headed off to college or a trade school.  Freshman year is a learning experience for everyone.  I’d like to give you some information we found helpful in keeping the kids healthy and happy.

First, once your child turns 18, they are considered an adult.  Some schools take this to the extreme and will not notify parents if their child is in a serious accident without a HIPPA form filled out.  My kids all had these on file at their schools so we could be called with an emergency.  Check the policy at their school.  Have your kids know where the school clinic is and how to access it.  They are all going to be sick at some point.  Encourage them to get a flu shot when available.  When living in a dorm, diseases spread like wildfire. They need to be up to date on all the immunizations.  I have seen enough college kids with meningitis to say it is no longer uncommon, and it can be deadly.

Another thing to talk about is what we used to affectionately call the “freshman 15”.  Most colleges now have healthy choices on the meal plan that aren’t just pizza and tacos.  Discuss eating healthy and trying to get into the habit of fitting in exercise (at least 2 ½ hrs. a week) if kids aren’t involved with sports, dance or yoga.

Also discuss safety.  Not all students are brought up with the same morals or values.  We want kids to be kind and tolerant of others, yet not be bullied or cave in to peer pressure just to fit in.  Ask them to choose who they go out with wisely.   Even if they don’t drink or do drugs, if the people they go somewhere with do, they may find themselves in a bad situation.  They need to be ‘street smart” about people.  Girls need to be particularly careful of drinking too much and unfortunately the “date rape” drugs are used more than you would like to think.  Girls should not walk across campus alone at night.  Colleges do not like to advertise their problems, rape is one of them.        

Encourage you kids to call once a week to check in.  College is a great experience and learning opportunity.  It also is very stressful at times.  Giving your kids encouragement when the going gets tough does help. Your kids are all great, encourage them to just be themselves!  Best of luck to all our grads!!!

 God Bless, Beth