UCR Parents: Answers to Questions on College Life, Stress – and Yes, Laundry

A panel discussion during a summer orientation session gave new parents an opportunity to hear from three mothers of current UCR students.

A three-member panel address questions from parents of in-coming UCR students, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. Panelists (left to right) Diana Lopez, Valerie Mitchell and Angela Krause, spoke candidly about their own children’s experience here at UCR. sandra baltazar martinez

Parents at a first-year student orientation wanted answers to common concerns: safety, dorm life, meals, transportation, managing stress – and yes, laundry.

And three current UC Riverside mothers were present, ready to answer them all. The parent panel discussions were led by Diana Lopez, Valerie Mitchell and Angela Krause; their session was one of several workshops parents participated in during a two-day orientation in August.

This summer, according to Lizzie Brister, New Student Programs advisor, UCR offered 12 two-day orientation sessions, including one in Spanish. That totaled to 2,256 parents and family members and 5,307 first-year students.

The day-long sessions were packed with information, including financial aid, class registration and even a tour around campus.

During the parent panel discussions, parents wanted to know how long it takes students to adjust to college life, to cope with stress over class assignments – and how often they should expect their children to go home with a pile of dirty laundry.

“Kids are so adaptable… we are the ones with all the hang-ups,” said Krause as laughter erupted in the room, as in agreement. Krause’ daughter, Ruby Krause, is a third year Asian Studies major. Ruby has traveled abroad, dorm life was good and she always had enough food with the meal plan she chose, her mother explained to the crowd.

The mothers also noted that parents should encourage their students to take full advantage of campus resources, such as the academic counselors, tutoring services and their professors’ office hours.

When questions about fraternities, sororities and “party life” came up, the mothers also had answers.

Not all students run out to parties, assured Mitchell. Her daughter, Lauren Sangster, a fourth year biochemistry major, had to almost be forced to take a break from homework.

“I had to remind my daughter that it was OK to take a one to two-hour break from studying,” Mitchel explained.

Lopez added that her daughter, Sydney Lopez, a second year psychology major, just joined a co-ed fraternity. It focuses on health, philanthropy and leadership development, she explained.

“My daughter told me to remind all of the parents that your students will find their own niche,” Lopez said. “Have your students enjoy [college], volunteer, participate.”

The campus is also full of clubs, the mothers said. There is a Costco club (shopping at wholesale prices sometimes is cheaper because the students split the costs), and apparently even a napping club. Parents laughed again – this time in disbelief.

At the end of two-day session, parents and students also got a chance to interact with student groups and campus department representatives. sandra baltazar martinez

At the end of two-day session, parents and students also got a chance to interact with student groups and campus department representatives.
sandra baltazar martinez

At the end of two-day session, parents and students got a chance to interact and visit with student groups and campus department representatives. This summer a total of 170 groups set up booth and greeted parents and students, said Geovanni Mayoral, Highlander Band and Campus Vitality advisor.

Parents Andrea Johnson of Newark, Calif. and Kevin Dunn, of Pittsburgh, Pa., participated in a parent panel discussion during an orientation session on on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. sandra baltazar martinez

Parents Andrea Johnson of Newark, Calif. and Kevin Dunn, of Pittsburgh, Pa., participated in a parent panel discussion during an orientation session on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.
sandra baltazar martinez

Hearing first-hand experiences from current mothers was a good addition to orientations, said parent Andrea Johnson, from Newark, Calif. Her daughter Andrea Johnson will start this fall as a biochemistry major.

Claire Singleton, of Los Alamos, N.M., agreed. Her son, Joe Singleton, wants to focus on neuroscience.

“I’ve learned that there are lots of opportunities here, clubs, etc.,” she said. Joe can’t wait to move in and start school, she said. “He came [to UCR] and once he saw the campus he fell in love with it. He knew he wanted to be here.”

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