Meet Briana Guillory from Houston, TX. Briana attended Westfield High School and has recently graduated from LSU with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Throughout her collegiate career, she was involved with LSU Ambassadors, STRPIES, and the Association for the Education of Young Children at LSU. This summer Briana will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Human Sciences and Education. In the fall Briana will begin her teaching career at Mimosa Park Elementary in St. Charles Parish teaching first grade.
My advice for parents: Be patient with your student. Wait for them to have their light bulb moment.
It’s summer. Your student is done with high school. Forever. What an exciting accomplishment! For me, high school was full of memories with great friends, opportunities to showcase my talents, and countless teachable moments as a result of the decisions I made. Overall, I enjoyed my high school experience, but I knew there was more. The moment I received my acceptance letter from LSU, I knew being a tiger would be empowering, inspiring, and would transform me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be.
I began my collegiate career the summer before my freshman year as a part of the Summer Scholars Program, an eight-week program for under-represented minority students to help them overcome academic, social, and cultural challenges they may face during their transition from high school to college. The first day of classes just so happened to be the day after graduation, so I walked across the stage around 7:00 pm on a Sunday evening, loaded up my mom’s car afterwards, and immediately drove 4 hours to Baton Rouge where I attended my first LSU class at 7:30 am the Monday morning. Needless to say, this was a very emotional day for my parents and me. I was so content to be in Baton Rouge and finally starting this journey of independence but I was overwhelmed with questions: What do I wear to class? How do I study in college? How do you make friends in college? What am I going to do without my parents cooking for me? How often do I go home to visit? It was a lot to take in at one time! In the midst of all of these thoughts, the most vivid memory I have from that night is when my parents left. My mom left me an orange with a note next to it and it said “Orange you lucky to be loved so much!” I immediately burst into tears when I saw it that morning. It was in this moment that I realized how grateful I was for how my parents raised me and all of the the opportunities they had given me through their hard work and unconditional love. I was so appreciative of them for allowing me to go to LSU and have my own college experience out of state. It was in this moment that I realized that I was truly on my own and they wouldn’t be there for me holding my hand, and in that moment I was a bit terrified. This was my light bulb moment.
Parents, I want you to know that these moments will happen for your tigers more often than you think. Our pride gets in the way and we often think we can handle everything on our own, but that does not mean that we love or need you guys any less. College is a time for your students to begin a journey into the person they are meant to be, experience new things and new people, and learn from their mistakes. Be patient and allow them to explore their freedom. Trust me, you will know when they have that light bulb moment. They’ll start calling more. They’ll make surprise visits home. And they’ll have tears in their eyes as they pull out of the drive way and head back to their new home. College is hard but they cannot get through it without you guys.