October 30, 2013

Reflections on the Husky parent experience

By University of Washington

Lynne Himes, whose son Brandon is a senior at the UW, lives in Missoula, Montana. We asked her to look back on the last three years and answer a few questions about the Husky experience, from a parent’s perspective.

Wow, what a ride Brandon has had at the UW! He always wanted to be a Husky and took ownership of his college admissions process to make that happen. I am an overly proud parent, which I am sure will come through as you read this.”

What was Brandon’s first quarter like? He chose to do the early fall start program at UW and was so eager to get involved right away, but I remember he struggled with the “how?” and “where?”  Living on campus in McMahon, he applied for a residence hall council board position and was selected. Then, he decided to become a tour guide. That was just the beginning of his incredible journey at UW…

What did you do to support Brandon from out of state? I have always encouraged him to get involved and to find his own voice. Actually, we have become closer while he has been at UW. Texting, emailing, Skype and the traditional phone call make up an average week. I would let him come home whenever he wanted and would visit whenever he needed the support. There are times in life when your gut tells you to be somewhere and you don’t know exactly why – one of those times was when I drove from Montana to Seattle for the election of the 2012 board of directors for Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), the undergraduate student government. Brandon ran for director of communications and it was a roller coaster of a process. When he won, I was there to see the look of pride and accomplishment on his face. It was a precious day of being a mom.

When did he come back home for the first time? Thanksgiving of his first quarter, and it was way too short. He just seemed to be very happy and expressive. Was he stressed about finals? A little, but he always said if he didn’t know the material by then he wasn’t going to know it. I had to agree.

What has been the biggest surprise, as you’ve watched your son experience college? When Brandon left Montana, he was ready for the city. He packed his sports car with his preppy clothes, ready to work in a high-rise, listening to top 40 music. Two years later, he traded that car in for a SUV, put on his jeans and cowboy boots, proud to listen to country music. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen. This only proves to expect the unexpected!

What is Brandon doing today? Brandon is enjoying senior year focusing on his current position on the ASUW board of directors as communications director. This past summer, he interned at Scripp’s Networks Interactive Headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. I give credit to the UW for providing him the tools and opportunities to be where he is now. The UW is a close-knit community; even here in Montana, I have people around me who are connected to the UW. There is something special about the institution.

As a seasoned Husky parent, what are your top tips for new parents of UW students? Encourage your student to get involved. Let them become their own person and support them no matter what. Keep in touch with them – they still need you even when you think they don’t. Watching my son’s ever-changing evolution has been the most rewarding thing for me as a parent.

 

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