DormSmart Living Blog: Last Minute Words of Wisdom for Parents of College Bound Freshmen

August 13, 2015

Last Minute Words of Wisdom for Parents of College Bound Freshmen


Off to College ImageCrunch time is here, and it's time for one of the most precious people in your life to leave the nest for college. I started DormSmart because of my personal experiences as a parent of college age children, so I am happy to share my experience with others. I hope it helps to make this transition a little easier for you.

For me, I experienced a mixed bag of emotions. I was proud of my children's accomplishment but worried for their safety living away from home for the first time. Of course, my daughters thought that meant I didn't trust them when the reality is, I don't trust the world with them. I wanted everything to be perfect in their dorm room so they would adjust, and I would feel better knowing I left them prepared and in good living conditions. Of course, they didn't appreciate it as much as they should have at that time and just wanted me to leave campus so they could start their college adventure. I felt both happy that my children were so excited about this new chapter in their life and frustrated that my children were so excited about this new chapter in their life, especially the leaving home part. At times, I took my frustration out on those around me, even strangers like retail clerks or school officials. For lack of a better word, I was just panic-stricken.

If I can impart any wisdom from my personal experience as a parent of college bound freshmen, it would be this...

  • I can promise that your student doesn't realize they are still that little bundle of joy that you brought home about 18 years ago, so they cannot fully appreciate the feelings you are experiencing as a parent. Rest assured that attitude will change when they have their own bundle of joy. At that time, they will appreciate you more and realize that parenting does not end when you leave them on their college campus. It never ends.
  • I can promise you that they will make some missteps as they embark upon this college journey, but the values and lessons that you instilled in them will ultimately prevail.
  • I can promise you that everything will not be perfect on move-in day and your student's lack of interest in making everything perfect will upset you because they mentally moved out over the summer and just want you to go home. Just remember they still love and need you; and, at the first sign of trouble, you'll probably get a phone call.
  • I can promise you that they won't call home enough, and you will worry yourself sick. I remember telling my daughters repeatedly, "Don't text me. Rather, call me, so I know it's really you." I have learned that when I don't hear from my daughters, it's usually because they are happy and safe. Typically, I hear more from them when they need me.
  • Lastly, I can promise you this... there are no guarantees in life, and you cannot control the world; but, if something does happen, the love and bond that you share with your student will be your greatest strength and see you through it. My youngest was attacked on campus her freshman year, and I just cannot put into words the amount of fear, guilt, and grief I felt as her mother; but, we got through it and she's starting law school this week. The only other time in my life I felt that kind of fear was every day that my middle daughter was deployed to Iraq.

At the end of the day, just take a deep breath, have faith, be flexible when things don't go perfectly on move-in weekend, let your student know you love them, and live in this moment because it's a precious time that you will fondly remember and so will they.

1 comment:

  1. When researching a title for this article, I was so taken aback by the number of articles telling parents how to say good bye. This isn't goodbye, it's the next chapter with lots of changes for parents and students alike but they will be home again. It should never be goodbye.

    How about, I'll see you at fall break or sooner. Call me if you need me or just call me because it's great to hear about your day at college. I love you!

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