It’s natural to be just as anxious as your college freshman about move in day. How can you be sure they are ready? Creating a plan is a great opening to have a frank conversation and give both of you more peace of mind.
Lost or stolen wallet: Have your student make photo copies of the identification cards, driver’s license, bank cards, health insurance and other ID cards they carry in their wallet. Help them organize a safe place where copies are easy to retrieve so you don’t get a call at one in the morning from your panicked student who can’t remember what was in their wallet. Keep a copy in your files as well.
Self-care: It may sound corny, but the “take good care of yourself” line is vital in college. Students are setting their own schedule and are responsible for their laundry, sleep schedule and eating habits. Remind your student to establish a good routine in order to avoid illness, missed classes and enjoy their time away.
Drunk roommate or driver: Many campuses have call services and other programs to prevent students from being on the road after drinking. Even though your student may be underage, it’s important to have a candid discussion regarding this type of situation. Many students will experiment and your child may be suddenly in the company of someone that needs help getting back to their room. If they have a friend or roommate that becomes overly inebriated or non-responsive, be sure they know it’s important to seek help.
Difficult instructor: Throughout high school, students may think that a difficult instructor is just a fact of life. In a university setting, students can talk with their instructors during office hours or seek additional help from teaching assistants. Reassure your student that taking advantage of the resources available is a positive way to ensure their success. Colleges want their students to be successful, not intimidated.
Emergency contacts: Give your student names and numbers of relatives or family friends they can contact in case they are hesitant or cannot, contact you. An aunt, uncle or other family friend can be a welcome option during this time. While you may be tempted to call often to check up on them, get contact information of your student’s roommate or resident hall point of contact to use in case of a true emergency.
Research the options for an unexpected trip home, in case they would need to make arrangements to travel by bus, train or airline. An emergency fund to purchase a ticket is also a great idea.
Homesickness: The first few weeks of college drives home the realization that life is different for you and your student. Give them the opportunity to fully acclimate to college life by agreeing that they will stay on campus for at least the first six to eight weeks. There are numerous special events and programs designed for incoming freshman to help them get involved. If you are the one tempted to ask them to come home, find something new for you too.
About the author: Susan M. Sparks is the mother of two and the author of The Student Life Jacket, The Easy-to-Use Guide to Staying Afloat in a Sea of Paperwork for Young Working Adults and College Students available at www.TheStudentLifeJacket.com or Amazon.