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A Message to Parents
From Chief of Police Vance Rice

College is both serious business and good healthy fun. Your children probably will play harder and work harder at the Mississippi State University than ever before.

What they experience and learn in their few years as Bulldogs will help to shape the rest of their lives. Some of their most important lessons will involve learning how to handle responsibility. Their biggest challenge in the first six months will be to develop the self-control and the self-discipline that must gradually replace parental discipline.

Sometimes those lessons can be hard. Your son or daughter will discover, perhaps painfully, that there are consequences when they fail to meet the responsibilities that accompany freedom. As parents, you probably will feel that discomfort as acutely as your child, but this is the time for them to face the consequences of their own actions.

At Mississippi State University, we encourage a community spirit both on and off campus. Our students are challenged to think individually and act communally. As a simple first step, whether your students live in residence halls or in the surrounding neighborhoods, you may want to encourage them to take the initiative and get to know their neighbors. If a neighbor, roommate or classmate needs help, encourage your student to jump in and lend a hand. It is no longer acceptable to “do your own thing” without thinking about other people.

The Bulldog spirit means pursuing personal interests, while keeping an eye out for the dreams of the larger community. I encourage parents to support their children in establishing healthy boundaries as they develop their individual identities. The adolescent years are properly the years of peer pressure, but young people in college must learn to make independent judgements and follow their own counsel.

This lesson applies in particular to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs and the disrespect of the personal and property rights of others. You and your children need to remember that the laws of our land apply to students both on and off campus. Encourage them to be smart, and to think for themselves. Losing control is never smart.