TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Parents and families across the country are welcoming their college students back home—but it’s not for a vacation. COVID-19 has created some major changes in the college and university systems. Now, college students who have tasted independence are back under their parents’ roofs.
“It was kind of hard at first, leaving school and leaving all my friends,” says Tyler-native and University of Arkansas freshman, Lily Hightower. She is now back in Tyler, living with her mom and taking classes online, due to COVID-19. "I told my mom, do I like have a curfew now?”
However, it’s not just Lily who has to adjust to this new way of living and learning.
“I had to remind myself when she came home, she’s had this freedom for some time now, and I’m going to have to respect that," says her mom, Susan.
She, like many parents across the country, are now faced with the challenge of how to best serve their children.
“I’m just depending on her to get the things done that she needs to get done," she says, "as if she’s still in school.”
Tyler Junior College President and CEO, Dr. Juan Mejia, offers a few pieces of advice as to how parents can help their students make the most of being at home.
He says to find a designated study space. Create study times. He says family time is important, but it is also important to set aside time to learn and study. He tells family members to encourage their students to build networks and to reach out to their universities with questions.
Dr. Mejia says it is also important to remember that this is not an extended spring break. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn new skills and develop others.
"This is not a time to binge the streaming video or movies. This is a time to really learn to build some of the 21st-century skills that are very important for every stakeholder- working in teams, providing leadership, strengthening communication, building up each other. This is time for us to strengthen those things that maybe we’ve taken advantage of in the past.”
Lily Hightower agrees that, even though being at home might be difficult, it also presents an opportunity. And, she has a tip for her fellow college students.
“Take advantage of the alone time that you have to focus on yourself and on your schoolwork," she says. "Continue to work hard just as you would up at school because it’s no different. Classes are just online.”