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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Helicopter parents need to take off

    Remember that one kid in third grade who always came in on book report days with the most amazing dioramas and posters, even though he had been saying all week that he hadn’t started or even read the book yet? It was obvious that one of his parents did everything for him, and everyone else with their Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners felt vindicated when the teacher gave him a low grade because of it.

    Moral of the story: If your parents do your work, it will be obvious to your teacher and you won’t learn from going through the process yourself.

    Duh, right? Well, it seems as though some students and parents are forgetting this lesson as college students prepare to graduate and enter the working world. Universities and employers are becoming increasingly frustrated as parents cross the line from helpful supporters to personal job hunters, resume writers and spokespeople for their students.

    Parents wondering why their kid didn’t get an offer after an interview? OK, until the parent picks up the phone and calls the employer to ask why. Parents attending career fairs with their soon-to-be graduates? Fine, until they are the ones handing out resumes and asking employers questions. Parents accompanying students on interviews and waiting in the lobby? Never acceptable.

    To many of us, these scenarios seem simply outrageous. Unfortunately, more and more true stories like them are coming from employers and universities, including our own.

    When asked about this, Susan Miller, senior marketing and special events coordinator for UA Career Services, said there has been an “”increase in parental involvement”” across the board at UA. “”Of course you want parents to support students, but at a certain point it crosses the line and students are no longer advocating for themselves,”” she said. “”Students need to realize that by allowing this to happen, they are not acting like an adult that an employer would want.”” ÿ

    Miller’s emphasis on parents acting as support is important. Who better to use as a sounding board than the people who know you the best and have experience in the professional world? Students just have to be aware that it is easy for mom and dad to go too far with helping if you let them or are too passive to do it yourself. By relinquishing the reins to their parents, students do themselves a disservice.

    I was talking with a friend of mine recently about what his plans were for May after graduation, and I was shocked by his answer. He wasn’t too sure because his dad was really dealing with most of that for him. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I asked what exactly his dad was doing to “”deal”” with it. He explained that his dad was getting his resume out there and talking with colleagues because neither of them really wants him to have to go through a ton of disappointing interviews. He’s that third-grader all over again who will piss off all of his co-workers because they will all know his dad did his project.

    It’s understandable that this is a stressful time for students and parents; students don’t want to disappoint and parents don’t want to see their children struggle. But what kind of favor are parents really doing for their kids by stepping in and attempting to save the day?

    This is a time for students to continue to learn how to fend for themselves, and they shouldn’t undermine that process. Crappy interviews, hours at career fairs, and a few failures are in order for everyone just starting out.

    Employers don’t only want to know that you stayed awake in class and learned something in college, but also that you grew up some and can make your own decisions and be a contributing professional in the workplace. Having mom and dad hold your hand – by choice or because they forced themselves on you – doesn’t really send this message.

    Vanessa Valenzuela is a junior majoring in international studies and economics. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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