by Lori Richey, former youth director
College students may begin their coursework with a clear degree or career in mind, or they may start out feeling unclear and use the new learnings and experiences of college to guide them.
Parents can play a huge role in helping their children find their path to how God is calling them to live in the world. Here are some specific questions you can use to start conversations that support them:
- “Which of your classes do you find most exciting? What do you like about it?”
- “Remind me what your roommates are studying, and what they’d like to do after college? Are they still interested in their classes, or are those classes making them reconsider their major or what career they’d like to go into? How about for you and your classes?”
- “I’m always amazed by how people end up using their degrees. Have any of your professors talked about what careers their courses might lead to? Were there any that interested you?”
- “Have you met anyone who has changed their major more than once? Do you know what led them to make those changes?”
- “I see that one of your greatest strengths is ___________. Do you have ideas about how you can use that strength in your future career?”
- “When I was in college and felt “stuck” or confused, it really helped me to talk to _____________. Have you found someone at school that’s been helpful?” (Most schools have counselors, career centers, and tutoring opportunities, and many students either don’t know about them or are afraid to reach out.)
- “Before you decide on a major or career, have you considered finding someone in that field that you could shadow or ask questions?”
- “I’ve worked a few jobs in my life – is there anything I can share about my experience that might help you in yours?”
Remember the symbolism that we each have two ears and one mouth – listen twice as much as you talk. Let the Holy Spirit guide the conversation in ways that are meaningful for both you and your new young adult.