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两代人对话2:高中大学对比、活出真实自己

亲子成长互助组微信群进行了一系列两代人对话。下面是群友M对大学生E的采访。E同学选的大学您听说过吗?她旅游学习的诸多地方您孩子自己去过吗?看看采访,欢迎多转发。亲子成长互助群从讨论13RW扩展到心理健康,两代人交流。已经长长短短采访过一些大学生。


感谢E的妈妈迅速翻译成中文站,英文版在下。


M写的简:E姑娘是一个很成熟和独立的大一学生, 她自己选择去了东部和富庶地区孩子很少会选择的一所大学.  她拿到了这所大学提供的包括食宿的四年全额奖学金.  所以她对选择大学时, ”适合的就是最好的” 这个话题有很多感言.  E姑娘语言能力很强, 善于写作和辩论.  (她暑假多次回中国), 最近还只身一人去了埃及和摩落哥. 下面她会谈谈她的中学和大学生活, 给青少年家长一些建议, 并介绍她的旅游博客。
 
1. 请介绍你的大学生活. 你是怎样选择大学和专业的. 你将来最想从事什么?
 
我去了一所绝大部分华裔美国孩子不会考虑的大学, 因为这所学校离家远, 也和他们熟悉的文化和成长环境非常不同. 事实上, 这所学校在成为我的第一选择之前, 是我的最后选择. 我认为每个人都应该尝试着热爱她去的学校, 而我第一次去参观校园时, 就有了走进美丽的家的感觉( 当然我的校园本来就是被评为最美丽的美国大学的)。我现在在学国际关系。之所以选择这个专业是因为我想了解不同的人和他们的思维方式. 这就要求我懂得他们的成长环境. 通过实践来学习对我来说非常重要, 因为我觉得通过书本并不能全面地掌握知识. 所以从某种意义上来说, 密西西比大学对我来说是一个完美的选择.  做出这个选择不仅让我的朋友和家人吃惊, 也让我自己意想不到. 但是我在这里学到了很多。比如说, 当我的很多东北部的朋友对这次大选结果深感意外的时候,  我却发现这并不意外, 而且看到了那部份选民的立场. 我还不知道我将来想做什么, 但是我相信我能够找到一个适合我并让我开心的工作. 学会阿拉伯语和中文两种语言,肯定不会没饭吃的。我学习很忙, 也很开心. 很多人认为在一个竞争力不够强的学校, 功课就会比较少. 虽然学校要求的会少些, 但是每个人愿意对学习付出多少完全取决于自己的学习愿望, (就象你对你热爱的事情愿意多花时间一样)。我肯定是没有停止努力学习。
 
大学网站
学院网站:
 
2. 和高中相比, 大学生有更多的自由. 你觉得高中生应该更好的为这种转变做哪些准备?大学会带来些什么?
 
我认为大部分的大学生很适应这种转变.  大部分父母可能没有意识到高中生其实很渴望离开家(即便是那些和父母相处得很好的高中生).因为这种让你知道你可以自己生存的感觉真得很棒。我还没有一个朋友不喜欢这种转变. 父母其实经历过我们的这些经历-- 有点想家里的饭菜, 过去的朋友.等等 –但是如果你还记得你自己的大学时光,  是否也记得新探索和新朋友让你兴奋不已?
 
我能给出的最好建议就是不要拒绝任何机会. 不要害羞, 因为大家都是新人, 都在适应独立生活。尝试各种各样的活动, 就象尝试不同食物那样尝试不同的课程。也许你从来不知道的东西会带给你特别美好的体验. 安排一个合理的学习, 同朋友娱乐和独处的计划。家长应该也有类似的体验_ 这和我们过独立生活并没有太大的不同。
 
3. 你在高中和目前参加了哪些课外活动和社交活动?
 
我高中花了大量的时间参加辩论。我并不是一个国家级水平的辩论队员,但是我的公众演讲和与人沟通的能力得到了极大的提高。这是一项非常花时间的活动,所以我决定大学不再参加这项活动。因为我的最终目的——提高我的与人沟通的能力已经达到了。至于朋友,因为校园很大,我极大地扩大了社交圈。不过我从来都是愿意和各种各样的人交流——在这一点上并没有什么变化。
 
4. 你和你父母在高中阶段的交流沟通是怎样的?怎样让沟通保持畅通?上了大学后,和父母的沟通是容易了还是困难了?是什么原因造成这种变化?
 
上了大学以后,我和我父母的交流变得容易了。我必须承认我在每周打电话这个事情上并没有做得非常好,但是我和我妈妈之间常常有比在高中时更长时间的深入交谈(那些高中阶段面临困难的父母应该从这里看到希望),我觉得如果父母真正聆听孩子们的想法,(而不是好像在听,其实并没有听),他们会更容易和他们的孩子沟通。青少年在每件“成人”思考的问题上都在形成自己的观点,而且常常和父母的观点并不一致。这就意味着父母必须非常开明地接受(假如不是支持的话)他们的孩子不是他们自己。他们是不同的独立的人。父母不能用自己的想法取代孩子的想法,所以最好的办法是我们互相之间拥有一个公开的论坛。另外我觉得啰嗦的父母往往会和孩子之间有更多的问题,因为一个人如果被惹烦了,非常恼火时是很难交谈的。啰嗦就像是你有一条一直在叫的小狗。虽然你很喜欢那只狗,但是它一直在那里不停地吵闹,让你恼火。你的孩子并不想摆脱你,你的孩子依然爱你,但是他们却不知道如何处理和你的关系。
 
最后,如果你强制你的孩子做某件事,即便他不得不做了,这也不表示你们在感情上互相理解,而这一点其实对你们和你们之间的长远关系至关重要。
 
5. 如果你能够重新上一次高中,哪些方面你会做得有所不同?
 
其实我并不想重新来过一次。很多认识我的成人(包括我自己朋友的父母和我妈妈的朋友)知道我走过了一个压力很大,情绪波动的高中岁月,(其实高中对其他人也一样难,但是我可能比其他人对付这些问题表现得更差)。但是我从来对过去不后悔。在人生中,我们都会面临不同的困境,但是我们都会从所发生的事情中吸取教训。当我们从中吸取了教训时,往往就是我们常说的“塞翁失马”。
 
6. 你愿意给青少年家长什么最佳建议?
 
耐心—不仅是耐心地等待孩子更加成熟, 而且是耐心地和他们交流。 因为我们正在经历很多变化(你们过去应该也经历过)。我们自己和家长对这些变化也并不了解。千万不要揠苗助长, 因为我们需要时间。 我知道家长都会觉得别人家的孩子似乎更好,但是不要忘记我们都是想表现自己最好的一面,所以别人家的孩子也有自己的挣扎。耐心会帮助你迎接挑战。
 
7. 你对青少年有什么最好建议?
 
很多青少年(包括我的很多朋友)在高中阶段经历过很多极大的挑战(我大一阶段还没有见过这种情况。) 我妈妈并不是虎妈, 她没有给我很大的压力。但是我自己对自己的期望值很高。特别是在华人社区, 这种情况非常普遍,但是也让大家压力山大。我们在青少年和经历过这个阶段以后的岁月里, 一定要切记只能自己和自己比,千万不要和别人比。我们应该因为自己热爱而去追求某个目标。千万不要因为外界(包括来自同辈和父母)的期望而去追求某个目标。
 
8. 你的大学阶段还是高中阶段更开心?
 
我觉得开心与否来源于自身,但是也受外界影响。高中毕业后, 我学会了体察自己的情绪变化,和怎样更好地调节自己的情绪。 (比如,我会更容易发现自己睡觉、情绪和压力的变化。)对于面临太多压力的高中生和他们的父母来说, 能够共同迎接挑战是最佳选择。因为青少年需要你们的帮助,尽管他们表现出来的是不需要。
 
人们常说华人文化强调成功,高期望值和严格的管教。但是蔡美儿写“虎妈的赞歌”(2001年非常受关注的一本英文书) 这本书的时候,本意是出版一本自我反省的回忆,而不是育儿指南。这本书旨在表达她在哪些方面可以做得有所不同。 父母和子女的互相理解和华人文化并不相佐。 即便奖章对一些华人家长很重要,互相理解对长至久远的父母和子女关系是最重要的。
逆反首先起源于心理,而不是行动。所以当父母开始发现孩子逆反时,孩子的逆反已经发生很久了。逆反往往起源于误解,当孩子更加成熟以后,父母也会变得更理解他们。所以父母和子女应当一起用开放的心态成长和迎接挑战。
 
9. 可否介绍一下你的博客?
 
我在分享旅行中所学到的(寒假写了很多埃及游记), 但是很不巧的是摩落哥网络不太好,照片传不上去,所以我有些游记还没能放上去。 不过我会尽快更新的。
 
后续讨论
 
E的妈妈:E去的是综合型大学里的一个最好的学院, 这个学院 资金和师资都非常雄厚,有点像东部的小文理学院(但是背靠综合型大学。)因此也有很多老师交流沟通的机会。所以在这里也提醒高中家长和孩子在挑选学校时多做研究,眼光放开一点。女儿非常喜欢在网上查一些信息,这所大学和这个学院, 我们原来一无所知。是她自己在网上查到的。包括学校有 美国联邦政府赞助的中文旗舰项目 阿拉伯语强化项目。她现在去摩洛哥学习也是自己在网上找的。现在的孩子都很厉害,家长还是要多放手。 
 
应该说一年以前我还是非常沮丧的,觉得和女儿的关系处理得很失败。我和女儿都个性比较强,很容易有摩擦。高中又有太多各种各样的压力。. 我觉得我们俩关系的改变主要是她选择去现在这个学校和专业,虽然我们当时并不是完全理解,但是还是是全力支持的。她也感觉到华人家长能这么做并不容易。我高中和她关系处理不好一个很重要的原因是在很多事情上不够信任她。上了大学后,我基本上是全面放手了,而且真心在很多事情上夸奖她。我想作为华人家长,以前也是对孩子不足看得比较多吧。总是别人家的孩子…… 她感受到了我是在真心的欣赏她的优点,慢慢就和我走近了。她和我说,我就听, 不发表太多意见。作为妈妈,能和自己的孩子有比较亲密的关系,真得很开心。假如高中阶段和孩子关系有问题的家长也别太难过,亲子关系是一辈子的,只要自己能认识到问题,尽力调整,孩子会感受到的,也会变化的。
 
我觉得我们东部高中小孩压力太大了。我女儿现在和我说,她到了南方才发现,原来大家也可以过得很放松。高中时把熬夜、不睡觉都当做正常生活的一部分了,因为周围太多朋友是这样的。每个小孩能力不同,有能力奔藤当然不好,但是硬是把孩子往藤校和名校推,小孩子后面未必开心啊。看到我女儿现在很开心,而且比高中时自信了很多,我觉得她真的给自己做了最好的选择。
 
M写的简介:E is a very mature and independent college freshman. She herself chose a college few Chinese or people from Northeast/affluent area would pick, thus she'll have a lot to say about "fit is the best" when it comes to school choice. She got a full ride for all four years, and is very happy especially compared to high school. E is very good at writing, language and debating. She has travelled to Egypt, Morocco etc. She will share with us her experiences of high school and college life, give advice to parents of teenagers, and share her blog in the end.

 1.  Please describe your college life. How did you choose the college and your major? What would be your dream job? 

I go to a college that most Chinese-American teenagers would not consider at all because it is far from the home, culture and environment that they grew up in. In fact, it was the last on my list before it became my first. I believe that everyone should try to love where they go to school, and the first I stepped foot on campus, it was walking into a beautiful home (my campus was rated the most beautiful in the U.S., after all). I am an international studies major, in part because I want to learn about different people and their thought processes, so that requires me to understand the environment they were raised in. Experiential learning is very important to me because I believe that a person can’t really understand knowledge (i.e. in a textbook) fully until they experience it. So, in a way, the University of Mississippi was the perfect place for me to go. It surprised not only my friends and family, but also myself.

大学网站

http://olemiss.edu/aboutum/history.html

专业

http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/home/the-major

It surprised not only my friends and family, but also myself. But I have learned a lot along the way—for example, while my friends from home (in the northeast) were completely blown away by the results of the recent election, I didn’t think it was impossible and saw exactly where many of his voters stood to make their decision. I’m not sure what job I would want yet, but I’m sure I can find one that suits me and makes me happy; 学会阿拉伯语和中文两种语言,肯定不会没饭吃的。I’m also very busy in college, but having lots of fun. People assume that a less competitive school means I have to do less work; while I am required to do less for sure, every person can put as much work as they want to into learning (just as you do when you love something), and I definitely haven’t stopped working hard.

2.   Compared to high school, college kids have a lot more freedom. How can a high schooler better be prepared for this transition? What to expect in college? 

I think college students generally transition pretty well because they enjoy their new freedoms. I think parents often don’t realize that high school students really, really want to leave home (even when they get along with their parents) because it feels liberating to feel like you are capable of surviving on your own—I actually don’t have a single friend that did not want the change. Parents actually share the same trouble we have today—probably a little homesickness for home-cooked food, old friends, etc.—but, if you remember to your college days, new adventures and new friends keep us excited.

The best advice I can give is to be open to every opportunity. Don’t be shy because everyone is new and adjusting to independent life. Try all kinds of activities, and try classes the same way you try food—you can have an amazing experience in something you never knew anything about! Definitely make a schedule that give you time to both do your work and hang out with friends—and also give yourself breathing to be alone. Parents have had similar experiences—it won’t be any different for your children to be independent!

3. What's your extra curriculum and social life now and in high school.

spent most of my time in high school doing debate. I wasn’t a nationally-ranked debater, but I nevertheless improved my public speaking and communication skills significantly. It’s time commitment, so I decided not to continue into college (because I already achieved the end goal I wanted—which was to improve my communication skills), and I’m trying to spend more time doing community service. As for my friends, I definitely expanded my social circle by a lot, since campus is so big! But I’m very open to talking to anyone—so that hasn’t changed much.

4.  How was your communication between you and your parents during high school? How to open up the communication channels? In college, Is it easier or harder to communicate with your parents compared to high school? Why? 

I think it has been much easier to talk to my parents since going to college. I’ll admit that I haven’t been the best at making sure I call them every week, etc., but I definitely talk to my mom periodically in much longer and deeper conversations than we had in high school (strong hope for any high school parents that are having trouble!!). I think parents will have a much easier time talking to their kids if they listen to their kids—not just “hear” them (there is a difference!). Teenagers are developing their own viewpoints on every single “adult” idea, often much different than their parents’—which means parents should try to be at least open (if not supportive) of the fact that their kids are not *them* and are different, independent people. Parents can’t replace their kids’ ideas with their own, so it’s best if we share an open forum.

I also believe that parents who nag will have more trouble because if a person is annoyed and frustrated, it is much more difficult to communicate. Nagging is like owning a puppy that won’t stop barking. Even though you love it very much, it is very frustrating and noisy and always there. Your child doesn’t want to get rid of you and your child still loves you, but they can’t necessarily cope with you. I think that is one of the biggest reasons I get along better with my mom because while she is a fairly open person, it was very difficult to talk to her while I felt that she was constantly reminding me about the same things over and over again. I love her and I know she loves me, but it’s still difficult to cope with.

Finally, even if you force your child to do something and even if they do that action, it doesn’t mean we will share emotional understanding, which is far more important to both us and our relationship together in the long run.

5.  What would you do differently if you could start high school all over again? 

Actually, absolutely nothing. Parents (of my friends and my mom’s friends) that know me personally know that high school was a highly stressful and emotional experience for me—just as it is for everyone, except I was maybe less successful at coping with it—but I strongly believe in never regretting anything that happens. We all have different struggles in life, but we can all learn from everything that happen. And when we learn from it, it often is 塞翁失马 (a 成语 I learned in school this year) :)

6.  What would be your most important advice to the parents of teenagers?  

Patience—not just in waiting for children to mature, but also when you’re interacting with them, because we are going through a lot of changes that you have been through—that none of us (neither my parents, nor me) understand. Definitely don’t 揠苗助长 because children all need time! I know we all want our kids to be 别人家的孩子, but don’t forget that we all try to show only our best side, so even 别人家的孩子 have their own struggles. Patience will overcome those challenges.

7.  What would be the most important advice you give to the teenagers? 

A lot of teenagers, including many, many of my friends (I would have never seen this my freshman year), have gone through significant challenges through high school. In my family, my mom never gave me a huge “tiger mom” amount of pressure, but I gave myself a huge amount of expectation. Especially being in the Chinese-American community, this is normal for a lot of teenagers but can be very stressful. Teenagers, and when we are past that age, should always remember to compare ourselves to ourselves and not to others. We should always remember to be passionate about something and pursue that passion because we love it, not just because of external expectations (which includes our peers in addition to our parents).

8. Could you compare high school and college when it comes to being happy or not? 

I think happiness comes in part from within but is affected very much by the external environment. Since high school, I have learned how to be more aware of my own emotions now and better manage them (for example, I will notice if my sleep/mood/stress patterns change much more easily). For both parents and teenagers facing the stress of high school, it is always best to overcome the struggle together because teenagers definitely need support (even if they seem like they don’t!!).

People often say that Chinese culture values success, strict expectations and harsh rules. However, when Amy Chua published Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother (which made news headlines in 2011), she published it as a “self-deprecating” memoir—not a “how-to” guide. It’s a book about what she thinks she could have done differently. Parent-child understanding is definitely not inconsistent with Chinese values—and even if awards and medals are important to some parents, understanding is the key to all of them in the long run.

Rebellion begins in the heart, not in action, so it has begun long before a parent notices it. And it usually begins in misunderstanding. As their kids mature, parents grow an understanding of them; so we should all be open to growing and changing together.

9. Could you tell us about your blog?

My blog is http://thewandermust.com/

I’ve been sharing what I'm learning on there as I travel. Unfortunately, the wifi at my school in Morocco isn’t the best right now (so I’m a few posts behind—pictures take a lot of wifi to upload), but I’ll doing my best to keep everyone updated!

Audience questions:

10. How did you know about U Miss? And what made you choose it? 

That has a little to do with my major at school and what I’m studying, and a little to do with Chinese heritage :) My heritage has been pretty important to me since I was little, and I’m really appreciative that it is respected across the globe. I can’t say the same for Middle Eastern culture right now—especially in the political climate—so I wanted to share what I see directly through traveling. I guess it’s a little 游记 for my friends, too, because they want to know what I’m doing, and for my mom, so she knows I’m safe. 

I got pretty lucky because my PSAT score was high, so a few schools automatically gave me a full ride. I applied to Ole Miss as a safety school “just in case”, but I actually really, really loved it when I visited! Something I didn’t expect.

11. I know you could have stayed in the east, but instead you chose ole miss, was it a hard decision? 

I'm sure that mom was probably a bit worried at the time, since this was a bit of an unconventional choice. I was definitely a bit unsure at the time I made my choice because it was very different. I'm glad she didn't worry about 面子 because I really didn't want her (and my dad) to be upset. But I'm really glad now that I made the decision because all my classes and teachers are very supportive (the majority of my classes are only 10-20 people) .

My concentration is actually the Middle East and not East Asia (but I take higher-level Chinese classes too). I think it's a very relevant but also misunderstood part of the world right now, so it's important to study! I feel like I can grasp East Asia, but not necessarily the Middle East. There is much more to learn about the ME for me and I am curious person.

12. Could you comment on community service?

 I interned teaching/translating English there the past summer. I spent a lot of time in high school with academic extracurriculars, so I didn’t have that much time for community service. But I think you should always try to help the world around you, and use your learning to best better your surroundings. The next few years in college (and beyond), I want to use my skills and spend more time in the community. 

13. I have a sensitive, but very important question, that I've been confused. You don't have to give your opinions, if you don't feel comfortable. Let's throw away the Political Correctness temporarily, because I really want to know the true thoughts from teenagers.

13.1 Would you pick a college which is a good one but 80% students are Asian? How do you feel, if you are rejected by one that you like and qualified, but only because they have too many Asians already? 

Asian-American culture is different from Chinese culture and different from American culture. So a student may feel most comfortable at that mostly Asian-American school. My school is mostly Caucasian, which makes me step out of my cultural comfort zone a little bit, but I still love all my friends. 

I think affirmative action is correct in principle, but not in effect (because it doesn’t actually help the demographic it is supposed to help). I would not feel uncomfortable if 80% of the students were Asian because I identify with my heritage very much, but I still do feel comfortable where I am (where there are very few Chinese-American students). Also, I might be qualified but they have “too many Asians”, but other students who aren’t Asian may also feel qualified. This is how I personally feel (some people may not feel the same way)—but I think I come from a fairly privileged demographic and whereas other people (including other Asians, such as people from Laos, Vietnam or Hmong people) may suffer much more disproportionately.

13.2 I totally agree that "The best thing for you is what you fit", "Parents can help, but should NOT make decision for their teenagers". But you know, there is always different definition for "What fit you" from parents and teens. I don't mean which university my kid should go, my example would be: The kid wants to play video games all day and all night, no school, no homework, that's what fits him, while I think going to school and finishing homework fits him. How to deal with it?

I don’t think something “fitting you” is something that you like; you may like a lot of things, but you can never have everything. "Fitting in" has to be something with a future that can most likely last (i.e. staying with it will not hurt you in the long run and you can continue to fit if you would line to). I think learning can be exciting if it is interesting and you can see results; this is why video games are so appealing, because you can see the progress you are making (within the game). There may be resources online for better learning strategies for kids specifically (not adults, who are able to have more self control because of maturity) that can appeal to desire for “fun”. I hope that answered your question?

I don’t think parents and children will ever 100% agree on everything, even after discussion (on any topic, not just college). What you can do is sit down to make a pros/cons list together—not just list potential schools, but discuss the benefits, etc.

I don’t think going to school (例如学中文)and video games have to contrast each other. If 学中文 can be as fun as 打游戏, then kids would be willing to do it. But if, in a parent’s mind, the two are already different, then the kid will surely think the same? I found Chinese school long and boring, but I also remember having just enough fun there to want to keep going.

 

后续讨论

E的妈妈:E去的是综合型大学里的一个elite program, 这个program 资金和师资都非常雄厚,有点像东部的小文理学院(但是背靠综合型大学。)因此也有很多老师交流沟通的机会。所以在这里也提醒高中家长和孩子在挑选学校时多做研究,眼光放开一点。女儿非常喜欢在网上查一些信息,这所学校和它的program, 我们原来一无所知。是她自己在网上查到的。包括学校有 federal government sponsored Chinese flagship program intensive Arabic program她现在去摩洛哥学习也是自己在网上找的。现在的孩子都很厉害,家长还是要多放手。 

应该说一年以前我还是非常沮丧的,觉得和女儿的关系处理得很失败。我和女儿都个性比较强,很容易有摩擦。高中又有太多各种各样的stress. 我觉得我们俩关系的改变主要是她选择去现在这个学校和专业,虽然我们当时并不是完全理解,但是还是是全力支持的。她也感觉到华人家长能这么做并不容易。我高中和她关系处理不好一个很重要的原因是在很多事情上不够信任她。上了大学后,我基本上是全面放手了,而且真心在很多事情上夸奖她。我想作为华人家长,以前也是对孩子不足看得比较多吧。总是别人家的孩子…… 她感受到了我是在真心的欣赏她的优点,慢慢就和我走近了。她和我说,我就听, 不发表太多意见。作为妈妈,能和自己的孩子有比较亲密的关系,真得很开心。假如高中阶段和孩子关系有问题的家长也别太难过,亲子关系是一辈子的,只要自己能认识到问题,尽力调整,孩子会感受到的,也会变化的。

我觉得我们东部高中小孩压力太大了。我女儿现在和我说,她到了南方才发现,原来大家也可以过得很放松。高中时把熬夜、不睡觉都当做正常生活的一部分了,因为周围太多朋友是这样的。每个小孩能力不同,有能力奔藤当然不好,但是硬是把孩子往藤校和名校推,小孩子后面未必开心啊。看到我女儿现在很开心,而且比高中时自信了很多,我觉得她真的给自己做了最好的选择。

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