The prospect of a new school year brings many things, depending on who you are. For returning students, it's a time to get back into the school-year routine and re-establish contacts with friends. Seniors are looking at the wrap-up of college and a transition to career or graduate school. Many first-year students, however, look upon their first year of college with some trepidation. They're no longer at the top of the game as they were their senior year of high school and now face starting all over again. Some take the change naturally, in stride. For others, there can be a tremendous amount of fear involved. Though these feelings are natural, George Fox is a friendly place. Most will establish new friends and routines quickly. My daughter is a junior this year and could not wait to get back to "her community" at George Fox, where she seems to feel more at "home" than, well, home.
For parents, sending a child to a university for the first time or sending the last of several children to college can be a very sad time. All of us on the Parent Council want parents to know that we each have faced these same feelings and lived to tell about it! Seriously, though, not hearing the familiar sounds of your child can be jarring after the return home from Newberg. Each time my daughter leaves, it seems like my wife Jackie and I have to "readjust" our lives for several days (or weeks!) afterwards and get back into the routine of just having the two of us at home. After all, four months of "Good night, Daddy, I love you" have just come to an abrupt end.
The thing that I most want to impart to all of you is that, despite the changes, we take great comfort in three things. First, George Fox University is a first-rate school: we know our daughter is getting a great education. Second, George Fox faculty members are wonderful people who care greatly about not just their courses, but their students as well. Third and most importantly, the spirit of Christ is fully evident not just on campus, but in the hearts and minds of all who call George Fox home: students, faculty, and staff. Though this world is not a safe place and there are no guarantees in (this) life, we sleep easier knowing where our daughter is, who she's associating with, and what she's being taught.
Lastly, I want to encourage all parents to be involved in their student's college life. There are many opportunities ahead during the school year to attend events, stage productions, concerts, etc. Take time to ask them questions about their classes and professors. How do they like the food at the 'Bon? What are their friends like? Have they made any new friends? If you're like us, you're either helping pay or paying for your child's education at Fox. Being connected with your students and their college activities will help it mean more and build memories that will last a life-time. You'll have a vital connection with the school even though you're only attending through "osmosis". Even if you're not the one getting the degree, it's your school too.