Its a great day to be a Hawkeye Parent! And a special salute to parents of new first-year students. You have many joys in store, but especially savor these early University experiences.
Hello, Im Jim Pavlacic and I have survived four unsettling periods of my life when each of my daughters began their exciting careers in Iowa City. Filled with anxiety and apprehension of the great unknown, they tried to focus, adjust, and socializebut it was tough. Budgeting time, finances, and effort while wearing a happy face was equally daunting. Trying to see the whole picture was perplexing. Hey, Im not talking about my students, but me!
But the good news is that in spite of the turmoil (remember, all grand and noble endeavors always begin in chaos) there are many rewards ahead for parents; its truly a period of growth and discovery.
I think Ive become a better listener. (My wife just twitched.) Living away from home was going to present new challenges for my students that were going to require them to define, analyze, and act on new situations. My direct, daily involvement predictably eroded, and I quickly realized that whereas I could do little about my students Neanderthal roommates quirky hygiene habits, I could certainly be supportive by listening. Eventually the crises reached conclusion without much need of parental intervention.
I think Im more lenient, and I try to understand before I judge. (Heavens, my wife just fainted!) Certainly moral codes and conduct should never be compromised, but details and circumstances can slacken. Are you going to let students hairstyles and fashions (perhaps the lack of styles and fashions would be more correct) upset you? Remember, Jimmy Buffett says that we are the people that our parents warned us about. We certainly engaged in unique (flower child) appearance, and we turned out OKwell, kinda. Of course, rap, pierced tongues, and backward ball caps all are beyond human understanding.
Rita and I have discovered that there are now "pockets of time" when we can rest and recreate together, and Iowa City nicely accommodates that. Hancher Auditorium features a sparkling array of musical, artistic, and cultural events, and we secretly relive our youth witnessing the pageantry and spectacle of a Big Ten sporting event. Even an evening walk on campus is soul-stirring. And yes, every visit concludes with taking our student and a newfound friend out to dinner and listening to their adventures. Have I mentioned listening before?
I certainly hope your new chapter of life is full of discovery. To facilitate this, I hope you discover the University of Iowa Parents Board, composed of 16 sets of parents whose mission is to facilitate the needs of parents of students, answer your questions, and channel your input into the University. Our addresses and telephone numbers are listed on Page 2 in Parent Times and yes, the board is certified Y2K compliant. These good folks want to help launch your age of discovery, so you can proudly say, "Its a great day to be a Hawkeye Parent!"
Jim Pavlacic is a pharmacist from Peoria, Illinois. He and wife Rita are the proud parents of three Hawkeye graduates, and daughter Katie is a junior.