Returning home after your inaugural term at college is a truly heartwarming milestone. The growth experienced during these past months is especially poignant for LGBTQIA+ individuals, as the journey of self-discovery and personal development takes center stage. Picture that eager young soul who first stepped onto campus in the fall—tentative, bubbling with excitement, and perhaps a tad awkward. Now, they stand before you as a more independent, articulate young adult, adorned with their own distinct perspectives and reflections.
This homecoming is a celebration of transformation, yet it carries a tapestry of emotions. There’s a mix of apprehension and uncertainty about navigating the next three and a half years of college life. It’s entirely normal for LGBTQIA+ students to grapple with challenges—forging connections, maintaining academic excellence, and, in some instances, navigating the intricate landscapes of their first relationships and heartbreaks.
As you welcome them back, remember to embrace the beautiful complexity of their journey. They are not just returning with textbooks and newfound knowledge but with a wealth of experiences that have shaped them into a more resilient, authentic version of themselves. Your support and understanding during this homecoming will undoubtedly contribute to the warmth that surrounds this significant moment in their lives.
- Acknowledge Growth and Resilience:
Celebrate the remarkable growth and resilience you’ve witnessed in them since the beginning of their college journey. Affirm their strength in facing challenges and overcoming obstacles.
- Embrace Individuality:
Encourage the expression of their authentic self. Affirm that their journey is unique, and the richness of their individuality is an asset to be embraced and celebrated.
- Highlight Learning and Development:
Remind them that the first semester is a time of immense learning and development. Challenges are not setbacks but stepping stones towards personal and academic progress.
- Reassure in Times of Uncertainty:
Offer reassurance in times of uncertainty. Let them know that it’s completely normal to feel unsure about the future and that they have the strength to navigate through it.
- Promote Inclusivity on Campus:
Encourage engagement with LGBTQIA+ communities and resources on campus. Highlight the supportive networks and inclusive spaces available to help foster a sense of belonging.
- Emphasize Academic Support:
Discuss the availability of academic support services on campus. Assure them that seeking help is a proactive step towards academic success and personal well-being.
- Explore Social Opportunities:
Explore opportunities for social connection on campus, emphasizing the vast array of clubs, organizations, and events that can facilitate meaningful friendships and connections.
- Celebrate Relationship Experiences:
If applicable, celebrate their experiences, including relationships and breakups, as integral parts of personal growth. Reinforce the strength they’ve shown in navigating these aspects of life.
- Set Realistic Goals:
Collaborate on setting realistic short-term and long-term goals. Encourage them to align these goals with their passions and aspirations, fostering a sense of purpose and direction.
- Affirm a Supportive Environment:
Reiterate your unwavering support and commitment to providing a safe and affirming environment. Let them know that you are there to listen, understand, and offer guidance whenever needed.
In navigating the uncertainties of returning to college, the focus is on fostering a positive and uplifting perspective, empowering the young adult to recognize their strengths, embrace their identity, and approach future challenges with resilience and confidence.