Although you’ve looked forward to this day for the past 18 or 19 years, now that the day is almost upon you, you really aren’t prepared at all. It goes far beyond what to pack for them to take along with them and how to ensure they will have what they need when you aren’t around. You are worried that they will eat three meals a day, and healthy ones at that.
You want to know that they will keep their clothes laundered and that they will plan and stick to a schedule for studying. It goes without saying that 99.9% of kids going off to college are more excited about the freedom to party than they are about getting that degreed entryway to the rest of their lives. So, what can you do to make the transition a bit easier on them as well as on yourself?
1. Learn to Let Go
One thing you can do is realize that the first semester at university might be a bit challenging for you as well as for your child. While they are getting acclimated to life away from home, you are trying your hardest to face a world in which you don’t see that face daily.
The thing to understand is that transitions can be difficult but if you’ve raised your son or daughter with a set of values intrinsic to their very being, those first few weeks will almost always be just a phase. Some parents like to send them off with a piece of religious jewelry to offer a constant reminder of their core values. A lapel pin, cross or pendant can make an unobtrusive reminder that they live by faith.
2. Make Sure They Have the Tools and Tech Necessary for Their Classes
There was a time when the most important preparation for each of a student’s classes would be covering the high cost of books at the campus bookstore. In fact, this was probably a challenge you faced yourself back in the day. Bear in mind that laptops have only been affordable for the past couple of decades, and even now some of them cost several thousands of dollars.
Most of what your son or daughter will need will be available online. Before sending them off in the fall, check out each course’s syllabus to see exactly what tools and/or equipment they will be responsible for. Also, remember that they will have a myriad of papers to turn in so a good quality printer along with their laptop is a necessity. You may not be able to pre-determine everything they need, but if you can send them off with most of their tech, coughing up a bit of extra cash won’t be so difficult – let’s hope, at least!
3. Equipping Their Dorm
Then there is their dorm room to consider. Some parents like to send a dorm size refrigerator for their kids to keep healthy snacks and juices in the room, but that may be just another pipe dream. Even so, if they’ve got a fridge, you will know they can at least keep milk, juice, cereal and a bit of jelly for their PB&J sandwiches.
If you look at the things you provide your kids at home, just transfer that shopping list to dorm goods and you will be off to a roaring start. In the meantime, trust that you’ve raised a kid who can take care of themselves. That’s what the past couple of decades were for, right? You did good mom and dad, now it’s time to let go!