DISCLOSURE: THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN 2019!
This week it’s HBCU Week in Delaware and Delaware State University is the only HBCU in Delaware which most of you know it is also my alma mater.
In celebration of Homecoming weekend I wanted to repost the following article that first appeared on my blog on September 24, 2017. It is a reminder for parents who will be attending their homecoming at the same HBCU that their sons or daughters are also attending.
Homecoming is a fall tradition of welcoming back former students and educators celebrating their college’s existence. Attending your adult child’s homecoming weekend is usually a big deal, especially if your student is a freshman at your alma mater.
However, you must remember that your adult children have been gone for 3 months, and it may be the first time you are reconnecting, but it’s on their home turf. He or she is no longer your baby and there are practical rules to follow. You can’t just roll onto the yard and treat them like they were still your children at home no matter how much you have contributed financially to their education.
Attending your college student’s homecoming weekend is usually a big deal, especially if your student is a freshman. However, many times the bond between parents and child can be tested by a visit from mom and dad, which places some extra emphasis on visiting a college student for homecoming weekend. The trick is to relate and seem plugged in without being odd or sticking out like a sore thumb. The fact is some parents try too hard.
College is a time for learning yes, and a substantial investment goes into that learning, but college is also a time for the kids to find their identities as they develop into respectable adults no matter how much of an investment you have made.
Some suggest that you have a plan in place long before taking the trip. Parents know their kids better than anyone, and if you don’t think that your son or daughter would appreciate a surprise visit at the dorm, then don’t do it. Instead of dictating the terms of the trip, ask your child what they would like to do. Perhaps they want to get out of town and take a trip, maybe they want to go shopping, and maybe they want to show their parents the places they see every single day. If there is something you want to do with your child suggest it, chances are your young adult will want to jump right in.
Remember, when it’s time to meet their friends, keep an open mind. As parents we place a value on our judgment, usually because many of us have been down the road a few times, but having a little faith in your adult child will likely go a long way. Parents who do have concerns about a friend at college should refrain from speaking about that person in public, instead, while on the way to dinner casually inform your student that so and so reminds you of something, the ice breaker should help get conversation going.
Do’s and Don’ts
There are several things a parent of a college age student should remember and the number one thing is that they are no longer students at this school. Even if they are planning on meeting some of their old buddies, it would be inappropriate to take a son or daughter out with the parent’s gang to a bar or old hang out. Introductions could be made but then the two parties should go their separate ways, perhaps meeting up at a tailgating party or better yet, inside the football game.
There are good things about going to a homecoming with your college student as an alumnus. There could be good stories about how their parents met if they both went to the school; stories about hanging out and particular places one parent or the other liked to study. No doubt there are still several pizza places, small diners or other special places that were open to the parents when they went to school some 20 years earlier.
If a parent wants to take their student, who is of drinking age, out for a drink, keep it light. Only have one or two drinks and then move on. Neither the child nor the parents need to see the other ‘fall down drunk’, especially at a nice occasion such as the homecoming.
This would be a great opportunity for a parent to show a student what they used to do and for the student to show their parents what they do now. The outcomes might be surprisingly different or eerily similar.
Homecoming weekend can be a special time to create some great memories. By staying neutral and listening to your college student, parents can gain an insight into what really goes on on-campus. Letting the student dictate the terms of the visit can seem a little frightening to many parents, but then again, letting them go in the first place was likely the real challenge
Although the purpose of homecoming is for the alumni, students use the week to alleviate stress and have fun. If your adult child is a student at your alma mater you will be especially proud, however, don’t embarrass yourself or your child
Some alumni and even students may not want to attend their homecoming, but there are many reasons why they should.
Homecomings are a time when school faculty, students, and alumni get together to show their school pride. College’s homecoming can be rewarding and memorable if you take advantage of the opportunity. It’s an excellent opportunity to interact with fellow students, faculty members, and (most importantly), alumni! Festivities set a perfect atmosphere for light, no-pressure networking and are an overall great time.
1. Meet new people. Many students may have groups of friends and know people within their current majors. Attending homecoming will broaden a student’s horizon while introducing them to students they have never met before!
2. Network. Did you know that an estimated 60-80% of jobs are found through networking? Along with meeting new people that are generally interesting, you can capitalize on the relationship! Talking with fellow students, faculty, and alumni is a perfect way for students to get their name out there. Connecting leads to possible internships, and maybe even job opportunities!
3. Show your school pride. School pride is what homecoming is all about! Everybody wearing their school colors and parading around campus gives off a good vibe. It makes current students and faculty feel they are a part of something special, and gives alumni a reassurance why they chose that school!
4. Cheer on school athletics. Homecoming weekend provides plenty of entertainment. Both men’s and women’s sports teams and club activities contribute to it, and give another reason for attendees to go and support their college!
5. Support a cause. Homecomings are not just about the campus itself, but about the surrounding communities as well. Many events include special recognition of a cause or concern of the local community. Whether it be a walk for cancer, or supporting a charity and its foundation, homecoming will provide attendees with a special feeling of giving!
6. Create new memories. Social Media boom – this goes for faculty, students, and alumni! Creating new memories so that your college experience is as rich as can be is super important. It is as simple as taking a couple pictures with your best friends or using your school’s hashtag for the event. Memories such as these will not be forgotten and will provide everyone with another reason to come back next year after year.
7. Reconnect with old friends. For alumni, Homecoming can mean seeing people you haven’t seen in years. This gives a chance for alumni to come back and talk to their old friends and teachers, and reconnect for the future. Homecoming is also a good way for old friends to talk about memories they have had at their school, and see how the school has changed since they have been gone. It gives alumni a chance to go back where it all started, and appreciate how far they have come.
8. Have fun! Of course homecoming is about support and pride, but it is enjoyable as well! Homecomings provide a weekend full of fun and games. There is always plenty of food, including alumni lunches, and student cookouts. Concerts, sports, and other events bring people together and showcase just a few of the many reasons to attend your school’s Homecoming!
The marching band is a sport of its own. HBCUs have a long-standing tradition of cultivating a super talented team of musicians to get the crowd excited during sporting events and tailgates. They don’t just play amazing songs in perfect harmony; they also team up with cheerleaders, color guards, and band dancers to make halftime an epic showtime.
Greek life is super lit. Greek life for HBCUs is so deeply meaningful because the organizations were created during the early 1900s when black students couldn’t get into traditional fraternities and sororities, let alone many universities. Each black Greek-letter organization, known collectively as the Divine Nine among students, has their own set of beloved traditions and styles that students honor and continue with each incoming class. And even if you’re not in a Greek-letter organization, you can still celebrate and support the always-fun probate season.
If you want style inspiration look no further. HBCU students don’t play. Every day can feel like a fashion show. HBCU campuses are perfect places to experiment and reinvent your own unique style.
Homecoming at HBCUs are absolutely epic and even more special. Although it certainly isn’t the most important part of your university experience, having a homecoming that everyone flocks to is amazing. HBCUs compete to outdo each other with celebrity appearances, epic fashion shows, amazing concerts, step shows, and so much more.