Meet Drake Boudreaux from Lafayette, Louisiana. He is a junior and will be serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader this summer. He is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Advertising and minoring in Visual Communication. Drake is involved in several organizations on campus such as LSU Ambassadors, Student Government and Dance Marathon. His favorite place on campus is Tiger Stadium.
Serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader for LSU this summer has easily been the most rewarding experience of my life. Spending such an ample amount of time representing the University alongside these 10 individuals has allowed me to gain insight on so many new things. Coming in to contact with a countless number of families from all over the country with such different stories helped me realize the diversity of this University and gain a new appreciation for where I came from and all the things my parents did for me.
It is true that I have not raised a child and for me to give advice on how to be a parent would be pretty silly. But I have learned quite a few things this summer that I feel would be beneficial for you, as families, to consider as you are sending your student off to Baton Rouge.
It’s not always about the product; it’s about the process.
If there is one thing I have learned from my POL team, it is that the process is just as important as the product. Chances are your student is coming to LSU with some clear goals in mind: walk across a stage, receive a degree, and be on the right path for a successful career. However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey to that stage is just as important. We make mistakes, we accidentally oversleep classes, and we change our majors. But we also make lifelong friends, unforgettable memories, and we explore what different things the world has to offer us. I’ve always appreciated my parents’ unyielding support while learning these things. Each family is different, but finding that middle ground between complete dependence and complete freedom is beneficial for everyone involved. In my family’s case, by allowing me to make my own decisions, find comfort in my independence, and become the pilot of where I wanted my life to take me (with a few stern reminders thrown in there), I feel like I am able to get more out of my college experience than just a degree. Also encourage your student to find a way to enjoy their time at LSU, take it all in, stop and smell the roses (or magnolias). It is true that these four years go by incredibly fast and should be some of the best and most memorable years of our lives.
Take advantage of opportunities
Ironically enough, talking to parents all summer about every single detail of my LSU experience really has made me reflect on the amazing opportunities this place offers it’s students. Whether students continue to do things the way they’ve always done them or they choose to completely reinvent themselves, there are resources and opportunities to accommodate the whole range. It took me quite a few tries to find a place where I felt I belonged on a campus with over 30,000 students. But in doing so, I found a way to make LSU my home away from home and benefit in every way possible from my 4 years here. Encourage your students to get involved in organizations, seek out resources if they need help, meet new people, try new things, and explore everything LSU has to offer.
Keep doing what you’re doing
One of the most important things I gained this summer was a newfound appreciation for my parents and all they’ve done for me. From teaching me how to make moral decisions all the way to never washing reds with whites, I’ve utilized every lesson, every “I told you so,” every opinion that I’ve ever received from my parents. I’ve learned that every student has a story and that the families of the university truly are the unsung heroes of campus. We would not be the diverse, well-rounded, fun loving, hospitable student body that we are without the families who raised us. So here is a round of applause to you all and what you have done! My piece of advice moving forward is simply…don’t stop. Continue to teach us lessons, continue to offer your insight, continue to support us through all trials and tribulations because the one thing as students that we should always be able to count on is that we have family members in our corners, rooting for our success.