College life is no picnic for students or for parents. Parents worry that the student isn't taking college seriously, or is spending their time on the wrong major, and all that money being spent might be wasted. Students are faced with not only a very difficult curriculum, but an environment that challenges them everyday in terms of going to class and studying hard. The distractions are plentiful. Also, they have a very difficult time choosing their "major" and taking the right classes. After all, did you, the parent, really know what you wanted to be in life when you were 18? Did you become what you thought you would when you were in college?
Parents: The best advice is to be patient and try and help your student make good choices. If you went to college, try and remember what it was like, how challenging it was, how much you really didn't know, and what mistakes you made. Share these stories and lessons with your child, both to remind you of what they are going through, and to let them know that you can relate. For more advice on helping your student, read the article on "How not to waste $100,000."
Students: Remember that your parents love you and only want the best for you. They don't want you to repeat the mistakes they made. If they are paying for some or all of your college, remember that they are sacrificing to send you to college so you will have a better life than they did. Share your experiences and your concerns, be cognizant of how you are spending their money and how they might feel about it, and be reasonable. You have both an awesome responsibility and an excellent opportunity, and you need to make the most of this precious time. The alternative is to get a job with no education, which means making minimum wage. All your dreams can come true, but it will take lots of study and hard work, and it can be a lot easier with your parents' help.