It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later: He’s College Bound

four college age kids, smiling at camera

There comes a time (*tears*) that your little one (who isn’t so little anymore) will flee the coop (*sniff*) to create a life for himself. All that parenting you’ve done will finally be tested in the real world.

His college adventure will have its road blocks and hurdles, but you can do your part in making it an easier transition physically and mentally from the get-go. Start planning early (and by early I mean now) for this. You can easily find comprehensive information on college admissions and scholarships from resources such as http://www.college-scholarships.com or other online planning guides. But what about the seemingly small concerns like living conditions and lifestyle? For example, it’s important to consider practicality while moving your college kid into a dorm, because he’ll only be able to bring so many things with him. Take steps to have the most efficient and stress-free move possible.

Pre-Planning

US News has some advice to help practically ensure a smooth move into college life for your daughter or son.

  • Make a list of items to bring, items to buy and what can wait until you get there. Visit the school’s website or contact the dorm to find out what’s provided and what your child … ahem … adult will need.
  • Create a staging area in your home, whether it’s the corner of a room or inside of a couple of laundry baskets, start shopping now for things you know he will need. This way you can get items on sale and save some money. Microwave, mini fridge, towels and sheets, can get expensive, also the smaller things like batteries and sunblock.
  • Reduce clutter by making three piles: donate, trash and take to college. This will teach him valuable lessons on how to reduce, reuse and recycle (or simply trash).
  • If you’re buying big things, like memory foam mattresses, dressers or other big furniture, have them delivered or pick them up at the store closest to their new address. There’s no point in hauling it home, storing it and then moving it.

Traveling

Next decision: how do we get there? You and your son should inventory the items that are definitely going and decide whether you need to get quotes for hauling furniture and appliances or if you can fit it all in cars and caravan to the college. You also have the option for mail boxes through the USPS and fly him to the destination. Each method has its own benefits, but it really depends on your particular needs.

Arrival

If there are larger items to move, consider coordinating with his roommate ahead of time, so you aren’t in each other’s way. The first impression of the new college roommate should be as positive as possible and hauling belongings in itself will be tiring and emotional. Also, if there’s a vehicle staying with him, be sure you’ve arranged for a parking spot, and any necessary parking passes on and off campus. The last thing you want to worry about is either paying a ticket or (*gasp*) your son tossing one aside and not paying attention to it at all.

See Ya Later

It’s not goodbye when your child leaves home in the direction of his future. So how do you let go? When this question was posed on various websites, commenters overall had a few suggestions:

  • Get in and get out ASAP; the longer you hover the longer it takes for him to get on with his future.
  • Leave little notes that remind him you love him. Possibly a Starbucks or Subway gift card under his pillow.
  • Tips to avoid tears: Bring sunglasses and a drink with a straw. When you feel tears welling in your eyes, take a long drink, the suction stops the tears from falling (try this at the movies as well).
  • Learn to Skype and text since this is the ways of the future.

Good luck to ya!

Written by Jennifer Jenkins. Jen is a stay-at-home mom and a freelance writer who volunteers at a community garden and homeless shelter.

Photo by Flickr user Jirka Matousek

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of kids who are (sniff) college-bound.

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