The time has come for your child to head off to college. You have been preparing for this move for years and your child has been telling you that she is ready and well-equipped to handle this huge milestone. So why is letting go so difficult?
I could use one million words to describe the feeling of sending my daughter off to college, but none are adequate. It truly is a bittersweet experience, which taught me about letting my children take the wheel for this journey, and remaining a passenger, instead of a backseat driver. Since my daughter was majoring in English, when we sent her off, I gave her a book called, Magic Little Words, by A. Delaunois to share how impactful little words can be. This book describes how little words have huge meaning and represent bigger concepts. This gift was tailored to my daughter, as she loves to write, and I wanted to let her know how the words she speaks and write have impact, no matter how “little.” Here are some tips we have learned after her first year away at school.
Network with older students
Mom: Set your child up with a mentor or a friend of a friend who has been to or going to the same school to help your child acclimatize and navigate through the new intricacies of their environment.
Daughter: Join a club to meet older, more knowledgeable students. It’s good to have a friend who will sell you their textbooks, without ripping you off.
Start doing the laundry at home together… before she goes to school
Mom: Create a laundry schedule at home, separating colors, talk about items that have to be hung verses thrown in the dryer (hopefully most clothing can be put in the dryer, there is not a ton of hanging space in dorms).
Daughter: Tide Laundry Pods are your friend. Easy, and basically effortless. I was always nervous about leaving my clothes and sheets alone in the public laundry room, so I would station myself on top of the laundry machine I was using, and get some homework done while I waited for the end of my washing cycle.
Organization is key
Mom: Ensure that you are organized for what’s to come. Make lists, talk to other parents of children who have moved to the same college. Start “nesting” and gathering items needed for the dorm room, buy second hand books, furniture, and bed risers.
Daughter: My dorm room ended up looking like a hurricane hit, but my drawers and accordion hanging shelves helped. My advice is to be sure to make time to shove all your dirty clothes into your closet before mom visits.
Think ahead for data use
Mom: Look into a family plan that optimizes long distance and data. FaceTime can be your best friend while she’s away.
Daughter: All schools have WiFi all over campus — I rarely found a reason to go over my allotted data in my family’s plan. Plan to pack a portable charger in an overnight bag, or you may find yourself walking back to the dorms late at night with no way to contact friends.
Pick room decor that matters
Mom: Allow your child to select items that are practical and that can travel with them the following year. Will they need bed risers once they move into an apartment or in shared housing?
Daughter: Print TONS of pictures, and buy tons of sticky tack.
Try not to worry!
Mom: Of course there will be crying involved! Your child is growing up and it is time to let go and explore the world. It is a very exciting time!
Daughter: Worrying is inevitable. Just enjoy the ride!
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