You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
This episode topic is from a fellow listener who asked about finding friends in the later years of life. When I sat down to organize and script this out, I had no idea that I had so many thoughts on the subject. But then, I do have a lot of thoughts on many subjects, don’t I? Ha!
Anyway, remember that some friendships serve seasons of our life, and others are in for the long haul. Either way, if you are looking to add friendships into your life, take a little bit of time to figure out what you are looking for in a friend, and then enjoy looking for those new friendships!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 31: How Do I Find Friends in the Empty Nest? … Today’s episode comes from a podcast listener suggestion. They ask how do I find friends in the empty nest? This is a great question. It falls in line with much of what this podcast is really all about, in that we spend so much time raising our children, and many times, our friendships tend to be built around where are children are in their life.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 31: How Do I Find Friends in the Empty Nest? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:36 Hello, my future empty nest friend. I want to do a quick shout out to one of my podcast listeners and one of my sweet online friends, Gretchen, also known as the Planner Freak. You may find her on Twitter or Instagram at the handle, the Planner Freak. Her Instagram feed is full of beautiful photos, videos, and great music. She’s encouraging and kind. Getting to know people online, such as Gretchen, is one of the perks of starting this podcast. Thanks, Gretchen! My empty nest friend, I’ll have links to her Instagram and Twitter accounts in my show notes.
00:01:29 Today’s episode comes from a podcast listener suggestion. They ask how do I find friends in the empty nest? This is a great question. It falls in line with much of what this podcast is really all about, in that we spend so much time raising our children, and many times, our friendships tend to be built around where are children are in their life. It isn’t difficult to find a friend in committees in our child’s school, other parents at the school, maybe our part-time job, our work, and more. When your child’s activities no longer need your participation, the onset of new relationships in your life may dry up as well. Not only that, but the relationships that were based on commonalities, that have to do with your children, may begin to drift apart.
00:02:19 It is fantastic when a relationship you built over the years has deepened to a point where you have other commonalities, or you just love spending time with one another so much, that your friendship remains. That is a very lucky place to be. It is also normal to find that there are friendships that were based entirely on those life moments that you had in common. Now that both of you are in new life moments, the friendship may fade. You may realize it first, or the other person may realize it first. Things may slowly drift away or just end suddenly. It happens. It is part of life, and your thought about this is everything.
00:02:55 You could have thoughts such as I can’t believe they haven’t been in touch with me since three months ago. Did our friendship mean anything to them? Or, I am so thankful for their friendship for as long as we were friends. It was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Or, I can’t wait until the time when we are able to reconnect again. I encourage you to find a thought that allows you to be thankful for the friendship and allows you to be open to new friendships.
00:03:25 The second part of this, is supremely important and do some work on figuring out what kind of friendship you are looking for before you even begin looking. Are you looking for a daily walking buddy? A weekly coffee friend? Maybe a group of friends to play board games with? Someone to travel with to exotic places? Do you want an in-person friend, or are you looking for online friends? What are you looking for in the friendship? What kind of friend do you want to be?
00:03:54 Once you know what you are looking for, where do you find these friendships? I would be silly not to mention our Green Popsicle Sticks Facebook group for starters. If you need a place to hang out with other amazing women, who are at different points in the empty nest transition, we will welcome you with open arms. Another option to check out is Meetup.com. This website lists in-person events on topics of all kinds, and in different locations.
00:04:22 I quickly looked at my town and found groups such as, a Hiking Around the City group, a Friend’s on the Go group, this one is open to anyone 40 years old or older, for creating new friendships and has almost 2,000 members. Also, a Skiing Sports and Social Meetup group, a Chess and Cheers group, and my favorite was a Society of Geeks group, that I found. You may create an account on Meetup and dive in. Search on your interests and if you can’t find a group worth checking out, then consider creating your own group that is specific to your interest, which you already figured out. Right? Why not bring the friends to you?
00:05:02 Another option is that since you did your due diligence, and figured out what type of friend you are looking for, where do you think you would meet such a friend? Is there an activity you would have in common? For this, check out local events. Yes, you may look online for your town, such as Meetup, but you also should keep your eyes open as you pass those community bulletin boards that are in local stores and shops. You’ll find some interesting events, especially if the shop is in the shop of your interest. Also, your public library is great for these resources as well.
00:05:35 How about volunteering in an area of interest? Do you love art? Volunteer in an Art Center. Do you love animals? Volunteer in a local animal shelter. Love to sing? Join a choir. One of the best ways to make new friends is to hang out with people who have the same interests as you. It’s really as easy as that. A fab thing is that you get to choose the interest. It isn’t just another committee in your child’s school, so have fun here.
00:06:03 You also may consider looking up past friendships. Those friends that drifted away. Maybe invite them out for coffee, to catch up and see if you are both in a different place, now. With all of these options, be open. Keep in mind that age doesn’t matter. You may find a 25-year-old who has the same interests as you. Why can’t you be friends? Seriously, what a great way to stay young. I adore having a variety of ages in my friendships. It is an easy way to keep on different perspectives.
00:06:33 Also, with being open, tell people that you are looking for a friend to do whatever it is you want to do with. You may not know someone like that, but there is a good chance someone you know, knows someone, or they know someone, and they are looking for you. Be really brave. Post it on Facebook. “Hey, Hi, I’m in a transition period of my life, and I’d love to find some friends who love to walk and talk about “Survivor.”” There’s an example. I’m looking to walk weekly. Tell your friends. Be the brave one and put it out there in the world. Trust me, there are other people like you, and they’re waiting for you to take the first step. Finally, with be open, if someone invites you to something, just say yes, and then, talk to people.
00:07:15 What if you find someone in your life that you would like to build a friendship with? The best way to make a friend, is to be a friend. If you meet at an event, and you already get the feeling that you know you’ll want to meet up again, plan the next one before this one is over. Invite them to do something else with you. Be honest and be brave. Life gets busy, and you need more than one meeting to create a friendship. Sometimes, even when both parties are interested and want it to happen, it just doesn’t because of, well, life. Definitely schedule it.
00:07:49 This has been an interesting episode to assemble. I moved often in my 20’s and my jobs always inherently brought friendships. As my daughter grew, most friendships were around her activities, so no, friendships haven’t been difficult to find so far, but it got me thinking. If I wasn’t in the midst of building this business, and had some actual free time, who would I spend time hanging out with outside of my family, and who are my inner circle?
00:08:15 Number one, of course, is hubby. We have fun plans and things we look forward to doing together. He’s easily overlooked in my life, as he’s so darn reliable, thoughtful and helpful. He takes care of so much. It’s easy for both of us to get busy doing the chores, taking care of our daughter, of the house, and doing our jobs, that we forget how awesome each other is. Do you find that too? But he’s my bestest friend, for sure. He doesn’t listen to my podcast, but if he did, hey, Honey, I love you. Thanks for being you, Don.
00:08:42 I am then super thankful for my friendships that have survived over the years. I’ve never been one to have a ton of close friends. To be honest, I get overwhelmed, but I have friends that we can pick up right where we left off, even if we don’t talk for months. There’s my friend who traveled to Disney with me, when I graduated from college. On that trip, she met her husband. We don’t live in the same state right now, and with our lives as they are, catching up is not easy, but when we do chat, it is just like the last time we spoke. We both still have a dream of our girl’s Disney trip, hanging on to, in the future. Hi, Karen. If you’re listening, I miss you greatly.
00:09:21 Another friend of mine meets me at 6:30 a.m. in the morning for coffee, every couple of weeks. We’ve had periods in our lives where we would see each other often, and then periods where months and even years have gone by. I’m super thankful that we are in a season of connection in our friendship. She’s a fantastic listener, even when we are on opposite sides of a debate. Let me tell you, I love that. She’s patient beyond words, and is a wonderful human. Hi, Beth.
00:09:47 Another, who’s going through the empty nest transition with me, her daughter and my daughter are close friends. We’ve been through the later years of high schooling, as homeschoolers, together. We have traveled on road trips with our daughters, together, and then, not seen each other for months. She was the pivotal person in me focusing on the empty nest niche in particular. She’s one of the strongest people I know, and yet, she’ll listen to this and say, “no, not me.” Yes, you, Jennifer. There’s my sporadic walking friend who will text me, hey, can you take a walk? I do the same thing to her. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But when it works, we have the best time. Walks in nature, talking with deep conversations. I’m fairly certain she doesn’t listen to my podcast, but if you do, one day, Sue, I adore you.
00:10:33 My empty nest friend, yes, you, listener. Maybe you should do what I just did? List out your friendships in the past and what you have now. I realized by doing this exercise that I am definitely a deep conversation friend. I am well aware that that is more than some people can take. I also noticed that with all of my friendships, we don’t get to meet up as often as we would like, but when we do, there is always that feeling that the time we have together is never enough. The conversation is good, and the energy, even when the conversation’s are on tough topics is positive. It has taken me years to come to understand that I am much better at one-on-one than in a group. A group of ten friends all gathering together is something that I can’t even imagine. It drains my energy. Needless to say, a sorority was never part of my life. This is a quality that serves me well with my coaching. I share all of this with you to remind you that friendships don’t need to look any one way. Figure out what works best for you, in your life, right now, and then, be brave and go find it.
00:11:39 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/commnity for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:12:04 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:12:28 The questions I have for you in this episode are: number one, how are you doing with your friendships? And, two, do you have other suggestions for meeting new friends? Let’s help each other. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “What Life Skills Should My High School Student be Mastering Now, to be Successful in College?”
00:13:02 Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode, every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
As a mom, unappreciative humans may surround you at all times. Some days it may feel like it is part of the job description. Is there even the slightest chance that you have created that yourself? Let’s think about that in today’s episode where I give you a little bit of tough love because feeling unappreciated is a lousy place to be.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 30: Christine, I Am Not Appreciated. … Appreciation. Let’s talk about it. What if you feel that your partner doesn’t appreciate you? Maybe it is a friend, or a child’s friend. Let’s be honest, it might be your child that you feel doesn’t appreciate you. What do you do when you are feeling unappreciated?
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 30: Christine, I Am Not Appreciated. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. Holy cow! This is episode 30. Thirty! I can’t believe it. As I typed my notes for this episode, I’m not even a year out from when I firmly decided that empty nest coaching was going to be my niche. I was between three or four different ones, and I certainly hadn’t decided to do a podcast. This is amazing! I’m really proud of myself. What is crazy exciting is that I have people listening from countries all over the world. Some have taken the time to reach out to me and share their appreciation for this podcast. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to me.
00:01:16 Podcasting is a very lonely experience. Not really lonely, it’s just solitary. I’m sitting in a closet recording this and I put it out there and it may change your life, and I may never know that. The only way I know is if you reach out and tell me. I appreciate those of you who have done that, and if you’re going to, I can’t wait to hear from you.
00:01:37 I thought I would share a comment from a member of our Green Popsicle Stick group today. This one comes from Karen, and she shared that, “It seems that I stopped dreaming at some point in the last ten years. I’m going to start a Pinterest page titled “Dreams,” and then, pick one to think through.” Karen, thanks for sharing this with the group. It really is true, isn’t it? That we do seem to squash those dreams of ours down deep, the older we get. Then, we get wrapped up in helping our children make their dreams come true. I think we just squash them without even knowing we are doing it.
00:02:10 I have to tell you, that when I ask people the question, if you could do anything in the world right now, money isn’t an issue, you are totally happy in whatever you choose, what would it be? Most answer with, “Hmm, I need to think about that.” What strikes me here, is not that they need to think about it, but that they would never think to dream about this on their own. Why? One thing I love about Karen’s comment, is the Pinterest board idea. Fantastic idea, Karen. You’ll have to let us know how it works for you.
00:03:04 Appreciation. Let’s talk about it. What if you feel that your partner doesn’t appreciate you? Maybe it is a friend, or a child’s friend. Let’s be honest, it might be your child that you feel doesn’t appreciate you. What do you do when you are feeling unappreciated? If you’ve listened to more than two of my podcast episodes, you probably know me by now, and yes, giving you some tough love today. This is not about them. Their behavior is not unappreciative. Your thinking about their behavior has labeled them as unappreciative. How do you respond with that thought of yours? For example, if you have someone in your life that you believe you have done a lot for, and their behavior toward you is not what you expect, you will have some thoughts about their behavior. What are those thoughts? If the thought is they are so unappreciative, first, how do you feel with that thought? For me, that thought brings up frustration. What does it bring up for you? How do you show up in the world, with that thought? For me, the best version of me certainly does not show up. What do you think your behavior is toward them, with that thought? Here’s the reality, whether they appreciate you or not, you don’t know. They might appreciate you in their mind. How would you know? You can’t pop in and read their mind, and would you really want to anyway? I’m good.
00:04:38 The real problem, most of the time, is that they aren’t responding in a way that we expect them to respond. Maybe it was, they didn’t say thank you. Maybe it was, they didn’t send me a card. Maybe it was they didn’t hug me, or they didn’t send me a text right away. All of these things are circumstances. If I have in my mind that when I send my child a package at college, I expect them to call or text me the moment they receive the package, and they need to thank me profusely, but they don’t. Maybe not only that, but I have to ask them if they received it, and I get, “Oh, yeah. Thanks. It was nice,” as a response. I need to stop and ask myself why do I feel that I need to control my child’s response for this? Did I want to send the package? Yes. Do I know what is going on in their mind? No. Even if they don’t appreciate it, what does it get me thinking that they don’t appreciate it? Lousy feelings is all that it gets me.
00:05:38 This is where we need to choose a thought that makes us feel better. If you are being abused or taken advantage of, then you need to set boundaries; however, most of the time, it isn’t a boundary issue. It is a thought issue. It is your thought, not their thought. After being curious about everything that this person continues to do, figure out if you want to set a boundary with them. Be clear with them on the boundary, and then you need to follow through on what you say you are going to do, if they don’t respect the boundary.
00:06:12 Let me give you an example. Perhaps I am sending a package where I’d like to know the box was received, because of the contents. I could set a boundary that I expect a text upon receipt or I won’t send any more boxes. State it to the recipient, but I need to be 100 percent ready to follow through on whatever I state, otherwise, there’s no use in setting the boundary. The real question is, who do you want to be in the world? Why not choose the best version of you? We start all of that with our thoughts. Catch your thoughts. Notice your thoughts and protect your thoughts, my empty nest friend. I know you can do it.
00:06:52 This is tough work right here. The next time you say, “they don’t appreciate me,” I want you to notice that that is a thought you are having. Take a deep breath, and see if you can find the actual circumstance that is causing your thought. If you haven’t already, go back and listen to my Empty Nest Prep Series of episodes, five episodes starting at episode number 3, to see what to do next.
00:07:19 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:07:46 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode 13 covers the high-level concepts of the program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:08:10 The questions I have for you in this episode are: number one, do you currently identify with being unappreciated? Number two, when you have the thought that you are being unappreciated, how do you feel? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I’m able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “How to Find Friends in the Empty Nest.” Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free, and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday.
00:08:47 If my show has helped you in anyway, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend! Remember, you are amazing!
I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this episode when I wrote it. Throughout our life, we experience change. Sometimes it is expected, sometimes it is not. When we are unable to be patient with ourselves through the transition, things can get a little off course and “boil over.”
In this episode, I talk about the importance of a simmer in a beef stew and what that has to do with your life.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. … My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:35 Hello, my future empty nest friend. What amazing things are going on in your life right now? Take a second to stop and think about something. Anything, and how amazing it is. Want an example? Right now, you are listening to my voice. I’m not with you live, in person, I’m off doing something else in my life, but something that I assembled and recorded weeks ago, you are able to listen to as if I’m right here with you. Now, that’s pretty amazing. Need another? How about how your body manages to take breaths, to keep you alive without you having to think about it. Amazing!
00:01:11 A quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering to My Future.” To be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com and sign up today. Look for the link that says, “Uncover Your Future.”
00:01:29 My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
00:01:49 Beef Stew. When you make beef stew, there is some prep work. You cook the beef. You then cook your veggies, seasoning, broth, maybe wine, more seasonings, and you bring it to a boil. Once the stew reaches its boiling points, you reduce the heat to a simmer and have more additions for the next 30 to 45 minutes. This simmer time allows a couple of things to happen. One, it cooks the food gently and slowly, allowing it to maintain its structure in ways impossible with boiling. It also will bring fat, proteins, and other substances to the top of the pot, which allows you to skim them off, and results in a clear stock.
00:02:25 Notice that two things are not recommended. One, allowing the meal to boil over, and two, once the boiling point is reached, turn the heat off and eat the stew. What does this have to with the empty nest? Something that I’ve noticed for many of my clients is that we reach this point where we have been “doing life” at a million miles an hour. Due to the circumstances of life, we get really good at hiding the real us in the name of taking care of everyone else. So much so that when a family member moves out of the house, be it for college, or their first apartment, the first thought that comes to our mind is what am I going to do with my time? As if we didn’t exist before they entered our lives. Think about it.
00:03:07 You were a full grown adult before you had your child. At least, most of us are. You had a life. You will have a life again. That you has been hiding really well. Is she different? More than likely, yes, but she is there. She’s just not used to showing herself. For many of my clients, the question what am I going to do with my time, seems to have an almost universal effect that moves my clients to, in the stew analogy, a full-on rolling boil that leads to a boiled-over mess. Can you picture this? There’s a frenzied emotion guiding the question for them. The frenzy sometimes is led by the need to know the answer to this question as soon as possible.
00:03:47 If you are able to answer the question right away, what am I going to do with my time, fantastic! Go you! But for many of us, the first thing we think we should do isn’t really the answer. Jumping all in on that thing, whatever it is, without allowing life to simmer for a little bit, will cause the stew to boil over, or we realize we’re not heading down the right path, so we pull the pot off the heat and dump it down the sink. When what we really need to do is turn the heat down low and allow things to simmer.
00:04:19 Allow ideas to bubble up. Explore them. Research them. Try them, and if the timing is right, take some time to discover if the stew is finished cooking, if you need to try a new recipe, or if you are simply still simmering. Remember, also, that if you don’t move from the boil down to the simmer, adjustments become messier than they need to be. In this transition, in your quest to figure out what you are going to do with your time, take deep breaths, and if you don’t have complete clarity, it is okay. You are simply simmering. You are exploring what is next.
00:04:55 What if you are sitting there wondering what am I going to do with my time, and you feel frenzied. You feel things starting to boil, but all you have is water in the pot, right? No direction. If this is you, I want you to try something for me. Try changing your question, what I am going to do with my time to the sentence, I am going to have more time, or I have more time, and simmer in that. Please note that this doesn’t mean that you don’t take any action in your life. You can try things. You can explore things. You can go all in on things, and you can adjust things. Throw some ingredients in here and there and see what that does for you.
00:05:35 Sometimes you want to make a huge change right away, but circumstances need you to stay where you are to allow the next step to be smooth. Rather than resenting where you are currently, realize that you are in a necessary simmer that is needed, before the next ingredient is added. As you simmer, get to know future you. Find her. It is so funny, I already hear some of you ready to say, how can I know future me, when I don’t know if blah, blah, blah is going to happen.
00:06:02 I need to be very clear. Future you is meant to inspire, encourage and motivate you. She is not necessarily a prediction of the future, unless you have some powers that I don’t know about, then, you know, give me a call. Let me know. But she’s your navigation system. Right now, in this moment, whoever future you would be, use her to guide you in your decisions.
00:06:27 That question you want the answer to, Christine, what am I going to do with my time? It might make you feel like you need to pick a new job, a new career, or a hobby to fill your time with. Maybe what you really need to do right now, is to keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe you see where you think your life will be in two years, but you’re just needed quite a bit right now, doing what you’re doing. Which might mean that your life isn’t going to change as quickly as you imagine it. You might be in the necessary simmer.
00:06:59 So, are you simmering? Remember, if you stop simmering, the recipe never finishes. Once the stew is finished cooking, there is always another stew ready to be made. Sit in the simmer. Don’t be afraid of the simmer! Don’t fight it. Use it to get in touch with future you. This time is needed and if you simmer long enough, the miscellaneous things that you don’t need, will rise to the top for you to skim off. That will make your life, your path ahead, clearer, just like the skimmed stock. Isn’t that cool?
00:07:30 If you’re having trouble sitting in the simmer, try reminding yourself that you’ll figure it out. So, where are you right now? This isn’t for me to tell you. It’s for your GPS future you to tell you. Don’t look to me, don’t look to your friend. Look to future you. Ask her what makes the most sense right now, and try asking her if you need to simmer. Trust that you and your GPS will figure out all the pieces when the time is right. Maybe right now, your GPS needs you to work on you, on your emotional health, on your physical health, so you may have the best future in store for you.
00:08:07 Having your future self to check in with is incredibly helpful. Mostly because she is you. She has your back, my friend. The destination sometimes changes for us, but the guidance system doesn’t. Find your guidance system. Find you and go after her 200 percent.
00:08:25 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? Well, the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:08:51 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode 13 covers the high-level concepts of this program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, take my free program as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:09:13 The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) Have you found future you yet? And
2) What was, or is, your biggest obstacle in finding her?
As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is, I’m Not Being Appreciated. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free, and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday.
00:09:45 If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 28: What Mom Should Expect During That First Semester at College, and How Mom Can Help. … My guest today is Katy Oliveira. Katy is the founder of Collegehood, LLC, and the host of the Collegehood Advice podcast, where she shares expert insights, strategies, and stories to help students thrive during college.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 28: What Mom Should Expect During That First Semester at College, and How Mom Can Help. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:40 Hello, my future empty nest friend! I have another guest today, and she’s another podcaster who has a show that I enjoy listening to, even if it is directed toward college students. It helps me in my role as a parent of a college student, to be aware of resources to share with my daughter and other parents. She has topics such as how to have your most motivated week ever, and how to tackle a big assignment. That may apply to anyone. I encourage you to take a listen to her podcast.
00:01:09 My guest today is Katy Oliveira.Katy is the founder of Collegehood, LLC, and the host of the Collegehood Advice podcast, where she shares expert insights, strategies, and stories to help students thrive during college. For 15 years, she has guided thousands of college students through their collegehood in her roles as a professional academic advisor, college success coach, university administrator, and instructor. She currently helps students find out what they want to do with their life then, use their college experience to make it happen through her coaching and online programs.
00:01:47 When she’s not helping students you can find her in a garden, on a yoga mat, or in a kitchen, cooking with her friends and family in Austin, Texas. I subscribe to Katy’s podcast, and I have to say one of my favorite episodes so far has been #63, “Is Your Major Causing Your Low Motivation?” Definitely check out her podcast, it is fantastic, and we even talk about this specific episode in this interview.
00:02:12 Christine: Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, Katy! Katy: Thank you so much for having me on your show. I’m really excited to be here. Christine: Likewise. So thrilled that you asked to be on. My listener, with Katy’s 15 years of experience, I thought we would cover some topics today that are important for mom and dad to understand. You might be well aware of these, but you also might have no clue. The first one I see first-hand, where I work, I have to admit, my parents never asked to see my college grades outside of the end of the semester or even my schedule. But that could be because back in the day, this stuff was just starting to get online. I had to go to a computer lab to type things, so yeah. Katy: Me, too. Christine: There was no logging in to see my grades in between classes. Right? Gosh, I feel really old when I say that. Katy, for the parents who are used to checking their students high school grades, and are possibly heavily involved in their child’s education, what should they prepare for in college, and how is it going to be different? Katy: It’s going to be very different, and I’m going to be honest, parents won’t necessarily like what I’m about to say. In fact, I gave a presentation last week, where I had a parent get visibly upset when I shared this information. I just want to put that caveat out there. One way to sort of ease us in to my answer, and to start to help parents gather a different frame of mind, is that I know it may be really hard to see, right now, your teenager, who is thinking about prom and staying up all night, and is on their device and maybe not making the best most responsible choices, and you fear that this is going to move forward with them into college, and some of it will. But the thing about going to college is they’re not only making a transition to going to a new environment, and a new school, they are also, literally, making the transition from a teenager to an emerging adult. Your teenager, that lives in your house today, right now, in May, will be an emerging adult within the next year. 00:04:19 Christine: Thank you. I can feel my audience just like “ugh”. Katy: Why would you tell them that? Christine: This is why I’m here. Don’t worry. Katy: Yeah. I feel the cold sweats. I understand. I have a daughter who’s turning eight, and it just occurred to me she’s going to be 18 in only ten years, right? I’m not there yet, but I have a lot of empathy for you. I think that’s really important for the next point, and the reason for that is because when we release them into college as parents, and I think also as educators, and as a society, we perceive that we need to treat them like teenagers, and they, developmentally, are no longer teenagers. They are becoming emergent adults. Emerging adults literally have different neuroscientific development needs than a teenager. I know it’s hard to imagine, but at 19, many of those needs begin. Because they’re becoming emerging adults, both the federal government and universities begin to treat them like adults, which is going to require you to treat them like adults in some capacities, even if you’re paying for their college experience. Instead of you being the consumer, you are not the university’s client. Your student is the university’s client and you are that student’s benefactor. If I’m a 40-year-old person going to college, and you have more money than me, and you volunteer to pay for my university, that relationship is between me and you, but my relationship is with the university. Your student is the same way. Your student is a separate entity from you and you’re a benefactor. What that means is, you are the support and the resource for your student, but your student has to take the lead on everything else. They take the lead on the organization of information, on communication, on what they do, who they talk to, how they advocate, everything becomes in the hands of your students, and that’s terrifying, but also amazing, because this is what you’ve been putting all your hard work toward, is making this transition to creating an amazing adult. Now is the time for that to start to unfold. It can be really painful and tricky. 00:06:40 Christine: First of all, I love the benefactor thought. That is great. Because I’ve never heard that, and that explains it very well. It’s a very good way. I work in enrollment, and I answer phones, and I get a lot of parents that call, and, “but I’m paying,” and luckily, I can say I understand, I’m in the same boat. I get it. It is very difficult for a parent to go from that transition, so I think is great that they can have a heads up, and be prepared, and it’s okay. You’ll be okay. Mine went four years early, and I’m still okay. You can do it. You’ll be fine. Katy: Yeah. And, the universities aren’t just trying to be difficult. There are federal laws that are governing this and the federal law is called FERPA, and it’s the Family Education Responsibility and Privacy Act, is what I believe FERPA stands for. This governs the privacy of a student’s educational record, but it can also protect identifying information. The moment a student enters the university, they’re protected underneath this act. There are releases you can sign, both to give parents information and access, but a student can also sign in documents to prevent a student from getting information and access, and also some departments have internal policies where it’s just their policy not to share information with parents without the student’s knowledge or presence. The university is trying to teach your student to advocate for themselves and their relationship with staff and faculty is with your student. It’s important to know what those things are, but also, I think instead of resisting them, and being irritated by them, understand that they’re there to help your student make this transition, and to take that line of thinking can help your student. It’s frustrating because it’s going to require that you have some communication with you student about what that means; however, it’s there to help your student become an adult and start to take care of their business, and start to communicate with entities just like they’re going to have to do when they leave college and go out into the world, and work with employers, work with the government, work with different vendors for their life. 00:09:12 Christine: Yes. It’s only four years. Katy: Yeah. It happens really quickly. Christine: Or more if they go to grad school, but still, you need to have a handle on it. It’s better to find out freshman year, than mom and dad hand-holding through another four years. Katy: Right. When the stakes are high, but low. Right? There’s a lot of protections in place, right? 00:09:29 Christine: Yes. Only because I’ve seen this, the mom who shows up on campus and asks to meet with their student’s professor? Good or bad? Katy: Bad. Christine: Yes. Thank you. Katy: You’re hurting your student. You’re hurting your student. I mean it both ways. I mean it like you’re ripping your student off of the opportunity to advocate for themselves. I mean in that way, but I literally mean it as a professor, as a person who’s sat in especially with old-school professors, who have been a professor for 60 years, and a parent shows up, they immediately are going to see that student as weak, and it’s going to hurt that student’s ability to have that person as a mentor and a reference, and your student’s going to need that, right? It’s because the professor and the university do not perceive your student as a child. They perceive your student as an adult. There is a difference in perception between you and the professor. The professor’s student is not you, so that idea, if you’ve always negotiated with your student’s teachers in conferences when there are issues, that’s student now has to do that with the professors. In fact, it’s one of the most important things a student can learn to do during college. 00:10:43 Christine: Definitely. I know that you know some of the most useful resources for parents to know about on campus, not necessarily for parents to use, but for them to say, you know, if their child’s having a problem, they can mention them to them, “hey, check this out” kind of thing? Katy: Yeah. My number one piece of advice is, I do believe in the sacred relationship between parents and students, and I think that universities are going to attempt to, not sort of put a wedge, but sort of bust you up. Right? You’re going to find that right when you go to orientation, and you’re going to sort of get relegated to the background. I think that they do that because they don’t want you to take the lead, but it’s not that they don’t want you to have a role. The role that you have is to be encouraging, supportive and a resource. You would function for your child, in just the same way you would function for an adult friend, who needs support, resources, encouragement. You’re giving advice in a form that’s like, I’m knowledgeable about the resources that are out there, so I can advise and recommend, but I don’t call and sign up for the resource for my friend, right? You’re going to take that same role for your child. We can get into this a little bit more, but there are a couple things that I recommend that students have in place that make it easier to smoothly enter the college experience and to transition through the growing pains. The most important ones are your faculty, your advisors, your health center and student disability services office. If I had to put a hierarchy on those, I would say the advising office, and the reason for that is that the advising office is usually a really good turnstyle, and what I mean by that, is that they are the best referrers on the campus. They are going to be able to ask your student a handful of questions and most quickly discern what probably is the root cause of their challenge or their growing pain, and then directly connect them to the person they need to talk to. Depending on the level of engagement of the advising office, maybe even give them language to use to advocate for themselves, “Kay, go to your professor’s office hours and say, “I am not doing well in your class, and I’d like to know what I can do to improve my grade.”” Right? We can actually language it for them. Advisors are really great that way. If I had to say one resource, I would find the academic support on the campus, and build a relationship with them. The student builds a relationship with them, not the parent. 00:13:13 Christine: Absolutely. As mothers, here’s another question for you, many of us have a default mode of worry, and I’m working to help my listeners with this, for sure, but what are some challenges that we as parents may expect, that our students might have a different moment in a semester? Katy: Yeah. I actually have sort of divvied up the semester into four transitional phases. Like I was saying earlier, when you’re making the transition to college, it’s a transition, right? You’re moving to a new environment, a new culture, a new community, but you’re also doing that at the very same time that you’re doing a lot of internal developmental work. This is why this change is particularly hard for young people. The semester, I kind of bust it up. If it’s a 15-ish week semester, it’s four different phases. The very first phase is the summer camp phase, and I think this phenomena happens regardless if you live on campus or not. Even students who are commuting experience this phase, but this is especially acute for students who are living in a residence hall. This phase’s primary objective is to figure out how to plug into the community, and it’s to figure out how to make friends. It feels like their at camp, right? It’s like their in a giant, never-ending slumber party, and they’re hanging out and they’re staying up all night, and they’re doing silly stuff, and they’re going to parties and they’re going to welcome days type events that the university has established to get them to connect. The university knows this, so the university’s primary objective during this time, is for your student to connect. By the third week, if your student doesn’t connect, they’re going to want to transfer. 00:15:06 Christine: Yes. Katy: That’s a positive, because the student is trying to find their way and connect; however, there’s a couple of negatives that come out of that. The first is this is also when you’re going to see the biggest homesickness, and you and your student are going to want your student to come home for the weekend. But if your student comes home for the weekend, every weekend for that first month, then you have just, and your student has just missed out on the key first-line opportunity to connect to the university. The second thing, is because your student is so focused on making friends and connecting, or feeling homesick and trying to stay connected to people back home, friends and you, then they aren’t really paying too much attention to their academics. They maybe haven’t had any assessments in this time period, but they’ve gotten material. They’re going to feel like they’ve heard this material before, because from the outside, their classes look like classes they’ve taken, but the fatal mistake that student’s make, is that just because it’s the same subject, doesn’t mean you’re going to be assessed on the same knowledge and information. In college, you’re not being assessed on what you know, or the facts, like in high school. You’re being assessed on applying an understanding and having more sophisticated understanding of the information. A test is looking for the best answer, not the right answer. Students are in this time, not really preparing for what’s to come in the second phase. 00:16:32 Christine: Very true. Katy: I’ve learned this, but over the years, the hard way of telling students in the fifth week, this is what you can expect. Just three bits of advice on that. One, I always encourage students to give themselves time and space to make friends, and not to try and just make friends by the people who are in closest proximity to them. They want to be friends with their roommate, or their suitemate, or the person who sits next to them in a gen ed class. Honestly, these are proximity friends who are usually going to turn over. Your student’s more likely to find their very truest friends in organizations and involvement opportunities that they really care about and in courses within their major. Those are going to be the people who actually have something in common with, not people they randomly got put next to in the structure of the university. 00:17:21 The other advice I have for students is to never miss a class, and to begin working on assignments the moment they are assigned, not when they are due. All three of those bits of advice come into play in this first phase, because they start to set up. Those are the best things they can do in that first phase to sort of navigate that level of challenge. Christine: Excellent. Definitely. Katy: The second phase, I think on the sheet I shared, I called it culture shock. I’ve recently shifted it to reality check, but same thing. This is really when the “I’m at summer camp” begins to wear off, and they realize that they live here now, and that these people are getting on their nerves. Homesickness can amplify because of this. The desire to want to come home may become even more acute, because not only are the people starting to get on their nerves because stress and pressure and weariness are starting to increase, but they’re going to have their first round of assessments during this time, so their first round of exams and papers, and their not going to do as well as they thought they were going to do, because they don’t know how to prepare for a college level academic work. They’re going to use what worked for them in high school, and usually what worked for them in high school isn’t going to work for them in college, even if they were at the top of their class. In fact, sometimes, guys who were at the top of their class didn’t really have to study, actually do the worst in this first round, because they aren’t equipped to have to do the work it takes. I find sometimes a B student who was really scrappy in high school, fairs really well during this time, and an A student, who never lifted a finger, could do everything at the last minute, really gets a rude awakening at this time. That’s normal. The good news is that usually, this first round of assessments are lowest value, because professors know this is what’s going to happen. 00:10:09 My advice is not to be like, “I’m a failure at college. What has happened?” To like, “okay, now, we know what to expect and we can take some steps to improve our academics, our time management, our stress management.” It’s a red flag to start putting into place the things that a student needs. I know every parent out there is like, “what can I do ahead of this moment, to make sure this doesn’t happen to my student.” Nothing. I hate to say that. There’s nothing you can do really. You can tell them until you’re blue in the face, and they’re going to hear it from orientation people, and they’re going to hear it from their professors, and they’re going to think it doesn’t apply to them until it happens. The most important thing you can do for your student, is to make sure they have just in time information when the challenge emerges, so that the student can then repair and grow and learn from the mistake. You cannot prevent them from facing the adversity. The adversity is not bad. The adversity actually is good, and is going to help them improve and grow. The trick is helping them learn to weather the adversity. 00:20:09 Christine: Excellent. I’m giving a plug to those B students out there. I was one of you. We’re scrappy. It’s good. Katy: Me, too. We’re all scrappy. I’m very resourceful and it’s a good thing. Christine: Yes. I worked hard for my high B’s and A’s. Really hard. Katy: Yes. It will help you in life. Christine: It does. Katy: The third phase I call the scramble. This is that eight to 12 week period, and the reason this is scramble, is because of that first round of tests, maybe the student didn’t do well, and now the student is, “oo, I really need to figure this academic thing out.” You may find, too, during this time, that the student’s commitments increase. They become busier. That might make them feel a little bit left out of things. Also, an idea about changing a major usually emerges during this time. At many universities, this is when advising begins. I know that’s crazy, because you’re like, “What? We just got to college,” but advising usually starts during this phase. A student feels a slight bit of pressure that they have to really commit to this thing, because they’re going to sign up for another semester of classes. It is very common for students to change their major at some point during the first three semesters. I’ve seen statistics as high as 70% of students do change their major at some point in the first three semesters. It’s important to allow your student the space and time to explore this. I think this is the linchpin of a successful college experience is having a student be in a major that really, truly inspires them, and having a clear idea of why they’re in college for themselves. It has to be authentic and in alignment with who they really are. If that’s true, a lot of the challenges of college sort of fall away, and a lot falls into place. If that’s not true, the student can really struggle with motivation, with connecting with using their college intentionally. You’re going to usually see that start to emerge at this time, because of either academic performance, exposure to a major finally, that they thought was a good match on paper, but now, they’ve tested it, and it’s not, questioning about the classes they have to take next semester. This first semester was fine, but, “Oh, man, now I have to take Calculus to major in this? Oo, I don’t want to take Calculus.” They start to get more information and start to king of be like, “Oo, I don’t know.” Christine: Yeah. Two things on that, first of all, you have a really great podcast episode about this, about the major and motivation. I listened to it. It was great. I’m going to have that in the show notes. Katy: Thank you. 00:22:33 Christine: I have one where I talk about majors and I talk about the statistics and how parents are all freaking in high school about does the college have the major and this, and I always talk about like, find a college that fits them, and has a wide variety of majors, because of that statistic. If they go in, all in one, and there isn’t a variety, they’re limited, and the transfer rates, I think, would be a little higher, or just miserable. Katy: Yeah. A lot of schools are going away from having them declare a major in the first semester, really innovative, forward schools, that they’re doing away with the pressure on the major and giving more space for exploration. The thing is, is that it’s one of these things, that we want to frontload this into a teenager. A teenager simply does not have enough experience, and life experience and exposure to make these decisions. Even if you make them take all the assessments in the world, an assessment is just not enough. An assessment is just one way to get information. They have got to have some life experiences to start to refine both who they are and how who they are connects to the world of work. They don’t know enough about who they are, and they don’t know enough about the world of work to make those connections. That’s honestly what the college experience is for. The college experience is not just to check a box and get a credential to get a job. That’s an old model. This is like my soapbox. I’ll get on my soapbox, because this is my soapbox thing. 00:23:56 Christine: No. It’s good. I’m with you. I’m cheering her on. I’m like yes, go! Katy: This is my passion. My background’s in History and I talk a lot about Economic History, and that’s an antiquated model. When a small percentage of people had access to college, and it was a way to vet professionals. You become a subset of professionals if you went to college. That is not what college is for now. College is to educate you in some really important transferable skills that employers desperately want, and those are things like communication, collaboration, the ability to pivot, the ability to problem solve, the ability to communicate, and a college degree provides your student with those things. However, it’s not ticking off the boxes, like, I got into the prestigious school, and then, I got the right major, and then, I got the right internship, and then, I got the right job. That’s not really the model any more. It’s what you do during that time. That idea, I just get in the right school, get in the right major, and then I can just party the rest of the time, and then, I’m set for life. That’s the 70’s. That’s not how it is. Christine: You’re making people sad. Katy: You have to do something with it. Christine: Sorry. I’m sorry. Probably not parents. The parents are going “Whoo.” Katy: That’s why picking something that truly aligns with them, is essential. That’s what I help students do. That’s what my work is. My coaching work is helping students figure out their life and then using college to make it happen. I think it is the tie that binds. It is the thing. 00:25:29 Christine: Absolutely. Preach. Go! Katy: Yeah. The final phase is the time to get serious phase. This the one, you asked me, parents worry. This is the phase that is worrying to parents. All the stress, all the poor sleep, all of the kind of depletion from the transition of the college experience sort of comes to a head in this phase. This can be a really beautiful phase, where they really can move their grades really high, and they can really do cool projects. They can really start to get to know their professors. They can get really involved in organization and kind of get their stride, or it’s the phase where students want to drop out, are hospitalized for mental health breakdowns, become very ill with things like the flu, pneumonia. The reason for the negative things are the high stress, low immunity because of the stress and the poor self-care that happens, coupled with the highest value assignments being at this time of the semester. It can kind of come to a head and this is also when they come home for Thanksgiving, and you’re going to be like, “what has happened to my baby?” They’re in their room, trying to do their paper that’s due the Monday after Thanksgiving break, because there’s only a week and a half of the semester left, and that last week is when everything’s due. You’re irritated because you’re like, I just want to hang out with my baby on Thanksgiving, and it’s just the nature of how the semester is structured that causes that. I’m telling you this because this is the most challenging time of the semester for them, but also for you, as a parent. 00:27:05 Christine: Yes. Thanksgiving is a joke. My daughter’s out-of-state, so it’s four days. It’s the worst time to travel. Any more, I just go down to where she is, and we’re going to go something local there, because she has so much work. She feels bad if we go places with the family, because she wants to write her papers that are due. Be prepared for that, mom, because that was shocking. It’s the things you don’t remember when you’re a student in college. Katy’s right on. Katy: I think things have changed a little bit. Back when some of us may have been in college, the model, especially even in the freshman year, was a midterm and a final, and there were fewer assignments. Now, there’s a lot more assignments and it’s by design to help your student have as many opportunities to influence a positive as possible. But it creates a lot more work than what you, maybe, experienced when you went to college. 00:28:04 Christine: Yeah. Yes. Be warned. Katy: It’s actually a retention initiative. Christine: Big time. It is big. My listeners, Katy has shared a download printable of all of the transitions with us, so make sure you go to my website. I’m going to have the link at the end of my podcast and you can have that printed for you to remind you. Yes. Excellent. All right, so Katy if you could have all of the entering college freshmen parents in one gianormous room and had the ability to give them one piece of advice, what would it be? Katy: Use the university’s resources, and also, any other supplemental resources out there. There’s a lot of them. This is a difficult challenge for you, as a student and parent, and the fact that it’s challenging is not a sign you don’t belong there, right? I think there’s that perception. I hear students say this, “if I got in, that’s enough. I should be able to just do this thing easily. That’s a sign that I’m capable of doing this.” I hear from parents all the time, “I really need to enlist you. I really wish you’d told this to my student, because they don’t listen to me. I tell them this stuff, but they don’t listen to me.” The way around that is by enlisting support outside of the family of other adults and mentors, just as you would as an adult. Find professionals to assist you through the process of transition or a challenging experience, or an opportunity, like you would hire a coach, right? For this transition into becoming an empty nest parent, or you would hire a financial planner, or a realtor, or a fitness instructor for any kind of thing you want to achieve. It’s the same thing for your college student. You can hire outside coaches like me to help them with certain things. There’s executive functioning coaches. There are tutors. There are people like me that help them figure out what they want to do with their lives. The university, itself, has a slew of people. 00:30:15 I would say, the most important thing is finding a mentor on your campus, like students finding an adult mentor. That person can be a professional on the campus, or they can be a faculty member on the campus. I would encourage an adult mentor over a student mentor. Those student mentors are helpful as well, making sure that the student is engaging in the experience of college and not fearful of sort of popping their head up and saying, “I need help. I don’t know. Where do I go for…, what kinds of resources do we have to help me with this?” That download also has, kind of depending on what the challenge is, the different offices that are the go-to, kind of generic, offices at most campuses, right? Depending on what the issues are. I think that’s the top most important thing, is to really understand what your university is offering to support your student, but also understand that when you are thinking about developing and supporting your student, what that means to you and what that means to the university are different. The university’s objective is to retain, so keep your student there, and make them persist, so get them to graduate. Your objective is for your student to develop into a happy, successful, amazing person. Sometimes, if your little B-student with a major, is sort of internally struggling and the university’s not going to necessarily know that, because based on their metrics, your B-student, who might be internally struggling with what they want to do and with their motivation, isn’t showing up on their radar, because on the surface she looks perfectly fine. She’s got a major. She’s making good grades. She’s attending class. She’s in a club. Check, check, check, she’s on the road to persistence and retention. That’s how a lot of people get out of college with a degree and good grades, and they’re like, “Now what? Why did I just do that?” There’s a disconnection between what you’re doing during college, and how to sort of maximize the investment. Yes, you want to use the resources on your university, but you also have to understand that you have to advocate for yourself, and you have to kind of be very strategic about kind of getting your foot in the door for the opportunities. That’s my biggest take-away is engage with the investment of college itself. Then, of course, there’s all kinds of other things, too, but I think that’s the best entry point, especially during the first semester, is to just be really connected. 00:32:45 Christine: That’s great advice. I think it’s something that easier for someone who’s very social and extroverted. Katy: Yes. Christine: The students who tend to sit back, parents need to understand that it might take them a little longer, and they might need more encouragement to get out there and talk to other people. I have seen that. I’m the kind of person I’ll talk to anybody; although, I’m introverted, I have my threshold. There are other people who just sit back, and it might take a year before they find someone they’re comfortable with. I don’t know how you battle that. Do you have any ideas? Katy: Universities, themselves, will have programs trying to connect students to mentors. A lot of students don’t sign up for that kind of stuff, because they want to seem cool, and they’re looking to their left and looking at their right, to see what other students are doing. In high school, I think we’ve been trained to conform for survival. In college, you don’t want to conform for survival. You have to not conform to survive. It’s the opposite. That conditioning, especially in mainstream, big public high school to conform to survive, in some ways, when I see students take off like rockets, it’s because they found their own little groove. They’re starting to understand who they are, and they’re starting to be cool with that. That quirkiness and that uniqueness is how they’re connecting with quirky professors and upper class students who have the same passion as them. You can be in a club that’s only about this one anime show that nobody else at your high school likes, but at your college, there’s ten people who do. Suddenly, your geekiness and your quirks and your nonconformity are your superpowers, but you sit out yet, which is why giving space to kind of understand who you are, is really important. Christine: Excellent. I think you the tweet of episode. In college, you don’t want to conform for survival. I was like, “Yes! That’s it.” They should have that in our head, when we start applying. That’s great. That sounds great. I’m a subscriber of your podcast, Collegehood Advice, and as I mentioned earlier, in the intro, I love it! Can you tell my audience a bit about your podcast? 00:35:03 Katy: Yeah. My podcast, I think of it as curating experts and resources and tools, techniques, strategies, stories, to help students kind of gather all the information and tools they need to thrive during their college experience. We talk about a wide range of topics. I try to cover a wide of range of experiential topics, from everything from sort of college life type issues, all the way to productivity, major, and everything in between. You can listen to it anywhere you listen to podcasts. It’s short format, normally, so it’s 10 to 30 minute episodes, and that’s on purpose, so that a student can listen to it on their walk to class. A lot of times parents are like, “I want you to tell these things to my student.” The podcast is the way to get me in your student’s ears. The podcast episodes are very strategically released to be in rhythm with the academic year. I’m always releasing a podcast that’s relevant to what’s in the mind of most students at that moment of the year. It’s helpful for students across all four years. It’s not just for first semester freshmen. I would recommend the best way to get me in the ears of your student, is to have them subscribe to the podcast and getting in the habit of listening to it weekly. There’s other ways to engage, my email list, I have free resources there to kind of help them take their first steps towards cultivating some academic habits that are healthy and more sustainable, instead of thinking of them in terms of right and wrong. I think about it in terms of authenticity and sustainabilities. You might find things that work for you, but they need to be sustainable. They need to be working for you. By working for you, I mean, you’re sleeping, you’re well, and you’re getting the outcomes you want. Not working for you, we think of it’s just getting the outcomes you want, and it’s not. You have to be sleeping, well, and getting the outcomes you want, or else what you’re doing isn’t working for you. A way for a student to get information, young adults are different than teenagers in that young adults actually want to hear research based information from experts, not their peers. Teenagers want to hear information from their peers. Young adults start to want to hear information from experts. That’s what we do. We collect together experts from all over the country to get that information in the ear of students, so it doesn’t just sound like random advice mom’s giving me. 00:37:43 Christine: Yes. It’s true. I’ve sent episodes to my daughter, “Hey, who’s editing this podcast? And, if you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now.” Really, mom’s you need to get your children to subscribe to her podcast, because it’s going to help everyone. Definitely. Katy: Yeah. A lot of that is reinforcing to the work of the university. It seemed to augment, so we refer a lot to the resources on universities, where to go, who to ask, who’s there to help you. Christine: Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, Katy has been kind enough to share a printable document with us, so head to my website to pick it up today. It’s a fantastic “Transition Map of Your Child’s First Semester in College and Resources.” You are going to want this. Pick it up at www.youremptynestcoach.com/p28, so that’s P for podcast, and the number 28. Katy, is there anything else you would like to share with my amazing future empty nest friend, today? Katy: I think we’ve covered it. I think the other thing is just remember that a good rule of thumb is always ask yourself, am I supporting my student to do XYZ, or am I doing XYZ for my student? When you’re about to take an action, ask yourself that question, and if the answer is I’m doing it for my student, stop yourself, and then, think about how can I support my student to do XYZ, and that will help kind of guide you in this transition. Christine: Excellent advice. That’s great. Before you go, I have four questions that I ask every guest of mine. They’re the most important part of the podcast. I swear. First of all, waffles or pancakes? Katy: Pancakes. Christine: Anything on them? Katy: I like pancakes every way they come, but I like New Hampshire maple syrup. My parents live in New Hampshire, and my mom is generous enough to send me that syrup and that’s what I want on them. Christine: All right. That sounds so good. What is one item you couldn’t live without and why? Katy: I really thought about this a lot, and I don’t know that I have one. Christine: Really? Katy: I’m pretty scrappy. I’m like eh, I could probably figure it out without it. I need the internet, because then I couldn’t talk to you. If we lost the internet, I’d be really bummed. Christine: I think I’m there, too. Yes. I’m ready to live in an RV, in a tent, permanently, but I need the internet. Katy: Exactly. Yes. I could be minimalist, with the internet. Christine: Yes. There we go. That’s it. Do you have an all time favorite movie? Katy: Yes. It’s the “Princess Bride.” Christine: So good. So good. Katy: I don’t know why. I watched it when I was a kid, in someone’s basement, and it just captured my imagination and I’ve loved it every since. Christine: That’s so great. I love it. Okay. You have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go to thing to do?
Katy: I have small children, so I’m going to sleep.
Christine: Excellent answer. That’s what every mother of young children say, I swear.
Katy: Nobody’s tapping you on the shoulder at 5:00 in the morning.
Christine: This has been so much fun. Thanks so much for being here. Thanks for everything that you do to assist college students and their parents on their journey through college.
Katy: Thank you so much for having me. This has been so much fun.
00:41:04 Christine: That was so much fun. I highly recommend that you mention this podcast to your college student as I’ve mentioned before, as Katy has a ton of great topics that your student will find helpful in the years to come. You may find Katy’s podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. It is titled Collegehood Advice, and you may also find her on Instagram or Facebook, with the handle, you guessed it, Collegehood Advice. All of these details will be included in my show notes, along with a link to her website, collegehoodadvice.com. Thanks for joining Katy and I today. Don’t forget to download the printable that she gave us. It includes the “First Semester Transition Map and College Resources.”
00:41:45 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community, for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to having your kiddos at home full time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:42:10 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her are your GPS, sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Discovering Future You.” Curious about it first? Check out episode 13, it covers the high-level content of my free program, which includes videos and worksheets to allow you to dive deeper.
00:42:31 The questions I have for you in this episode are: What are you most focused on for your child’s first semester? My second question, if you attended college, what are some defining moments that you remember from your first semester? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll also find show notes for this and every episode on my website.
00:42:56 My next episode is: All About Future You, and I Don’t Know What to Do Next. If my show has helped you in anyway, please share it with one other person you think it will help too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
So, I wonder if this episode is the one that gets my listeners worked up. These are thoughts that we don’t hear often, so I’m putting them out there. If you aren’t a fan of my approach – it is all good, differences are what makes this world interesting.
However, if you can barely stand to listen to my take on grades, I challenge you to take a look at your thoughts and be curious as to the why. Ask yourself, “Who would I be in the world, if for a moment, I tried on these new thoughts and could find myself in a space where I believe them?”
Let me know where you are and let’s chat about it. If you are happy with who you show up in the world as with your thoughts on this topic, then you are all good!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 27: What Are You Making Grades Mean? … Let’s talk about GPAs. You know, grade point averages. Sometimes parents like to share their child’s GPA, almost as if it’s a badge of honor, like it means something of significant importance. Let’s be real. A GPA is a number. That is it. It means whatever you make it mean, at that moment at time.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 27: What Are You Making Grades Mean? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:01:02 Let’s talk about GPAs. You know, grade point averages. Sometimes parents like to share their child’s GPA, almost as if it’s a badge of honor, like it means something of significant importance. Let’s be real. A GPA is a number. That is it. It means whatever you make it mean, at that moment at time. A human could be in a class that doesn’t teach a subject that they are interested in, or maybe they don’t have the skills for. Sometimes, that human doesn’t even get the prerequisite class, so they’re at a disadvantage. Then there are things like learning styles. The student’s learning style and is the professor in a particular class a good fit for that student’s learning style? Then, there are professors that grade tough, and there are professors that grade leniently.
00:01:55 Look, your high school GPA matters for college.Your college GPA matters for grad school. I can’t tell you the last job I applied for that asked me my college GPA. Really, maybe they did, and I think, actually, I do think one did and it makes me want to throw up in my mouth when somebody asks me what my GPA is, because what relevance does that have on anything that I have done in the past 20 years? When you go to a lawyer, do you want to know they’re amazing in that area that you need with proven results? Or do you want them to have a particular GPA? Do you even care about their GPA? When you go to a doctor, do you want to know that they had a 4.0? Or do you want to know that they are amazing at the surgery that you need?
00:02:39 Look, C’s get degrees. Really. They walk across the same stage and get the same degree. The same degree that someone with a 3.8 or a 4.0 gets. Let that sink in. Whatever grade your child has, it is just a grade. It means whatever you make it mean. By the way, by college, you aren’t doing the work for them. At least, you shouldn’t be. It literally has no reflection on you, at all. If you’re making it that way, ask yourself why.
00:03:11 Sure. If they’re failing and not trying, that’s different. But if they aren’t failing, and they’re doing what some would call average work, and have a really good life balance, what’s the problem? Yes, they might have a harder time getting their career started or into grad school. You can point that out, and then, you let the chips fall where they may. I know kids who spend three years with 4.0’s in college, stressed out that they might lose it at any second. They can’t imagine having anything lower than an A on a single assignment, while another student may calculate the lowest grade they need on the final to make the A. That student studies enough, knows it’s the same grade in the end, and spends finals week doing what they need to do and making the time to have a little fun, and have time for self-care. That elusive 4.0.
00:03:58 I have to say, I’m partial to those without a 4.0, actually. Let me tell you why. Because I know that they’ve experienced not having the perfect grade, and they survived it. I don’t know that 4.0 student can handle a situation like this, because they haven’t been in it yet. I know, tough. Right? But it’s really something important.
00:04:19 Doing your best work in a class sometimes has nothing to do with the resulting grade, and our kids need to be proud of their work, because we aren’t graded at our jobs. Heck, some jobs don’t even give you performance reviews. What happens to the student with the 4.0, who enters the workforce and receives no external validation for their work? Make sure your child is good with knowing who they are outside of that GPA. It is a gift worth giving. Good luck with all of this. I know it’s tough because society is focused so much on this number. But just remember your child’s grades aren’t your grades. You are amazing no matter what grades you received in school, and no matter what grades your family members receive in school, 100 percent. I adore you my empty nest friend. Thanks for being here today.
00:05:07 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook Group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:05:54 The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) How much does your child’s grade change your mood?
2) How were your grades in school? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I’m able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is, “What Mom Should Expect During That First Semester and How Mom Can Help.”
00:06:22 If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!