Opinion | Having a professor as a parent

Micaela Bastianelli
Staff Writer
@micaelanicolb

For those who aren’t used to being independent, transitioning from college to high school can be a frightening and overwhelming experience.

This was the case for me. Initially, I planned to go to college across the country but, at the last minute, I changed my mind in fear of being too far away from my parents. Growing up, my parents were my backbone. When I felt that I had failed, they picked me back up. From being sick to my first heartbreak, they always knew how to comfort me.

The idea of being completely alone across the country became a paralyzing thought. So instead of leaving, I settled for staying local. And not only did I decide to stay local, I chose to attend Chapman, the university my father is a professor at, so I could continue feeling comfortable and secure with his close presence.

I was nervous to start this new chapter in my life, and although my dad would be a walk away, I still cried the first night I slept in the dorms.

Obviously I knew what I was getting myself into when I applied and made the decision to attend, but the experience hasn’t been terrible at all – which surprises many who ask me what it’s like to go to school with a parent professor. Usually when people find out that my dad is a professor at Chapman, they assume he follows my every move, harassing me about my grades, where I am at, who I am with or what I am doing. This has not been my experience whatsoever. In fact, my dad doesn’t really know any specific details unless I willingly spill the tea myself. He gives me the necessary space to be just like any other college student.

Having my dad on campus has actually been enjoyable and helpful. When I need his support, I can easily walk over to his office and ask for advice or simply express how I’m feeling. It’s like having my own personal therapist or counselor available to me without needing to make an appointment or wait days or weeks until I am able to be seen. We also have lunch dates together during our free time – which is a wonderful benefit for a broke college student.

Now, I have become so used to having a parent on campus that the idea is far from bothersome. Now, it’s normal. If anything, I have a lifelong friend I can always count on to be there for me, both at home and at school.