Parents of 439 DHS graduates face a new milestone this fall: letting go of their child. Most of the graduating students of the class of 2011 begin a new life this fall as they leave home for college, the military, or work. Their parents and siblings start a new life as well.
On June 10, 2011, graduating students received their diplomas and each took a picture to capture the memory on the stage placed on the DHS football field. Many smiles were exchanged between the graduates and parents as they walked off the stage with diplomas in-hand.
Following the ceremony, most students went to Grad Night, where they would party from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning. Then they returned home.
During the summer, many students packed up their room, leaving little behind. After the big day arrives to move into the new dorms or apartments, many things begin to change, including responsibilities and attitudes within the family.
“It’s a transition. It’s emotional and your goal is for them to become an adult,” Head Counselor Courtenay Tessler said. Tessler has had several encounters with parents going through the departing process. “It’s a relief to have them move on.”
Two juniors at DHS, Marta Drown and Ioana Seritan, had brothers that left the nest for college this fall.
Drown’s brother, Adam, left for UCLA on Sept. 17. According to Drown, the absence of her brother has put more attention on her, which is not exactly what she wanted. “My parents have gotten much more intense about me and what I am going to do for college. They expect me to be more mature,” Drown said.
Seritan’s brother, Stefan, left for UC Santa Barbara this September. “I don’t think there will be a big change,” Seritan said. “I didn’t depend on him very much.”
According to Tessler, “If [the siblings] have a close bond, that doesn’t change. It’s so individual.”
Similarly, Robin DeRieux, who writes about family issues for the UC Davis magazine, said, “If siblings are close, the departure hurts. That’s life. But I think the loss is felt more keenly by the sibling who’s left behind.”
“On the up side, it’s easier to get your homework done without drama and distractions. And there’s no fights over time in the bathroom,” DeRieux said. However, “on garbage night, [they] have to take out both the garbage and the recycling.”
During the summer, holidays, and free weekends, many students come home to get away and visit the family. Some students come home just to crash and get free food and laundry. They expect everything to be the same as how they left it.
“You’re really happy when they come home,” UCD parent Amy Teaford said. “Having [her] out of the house made the house seem really big.”
According to Tessler, even though parents are happy their home, they are expecting a mature person, but the “kids go back into their old mode.”
Thanks to modern technology, siblings and parents can stay in touch through Skype, Facebook, and texting.
“Even though college kids are really busy, they’re happy to receive a text from you once in a while or a phone call on the weekend,” DeRieux said.