Good Morning America’s Family and Life Contributor Lee Woodruff offered some advice on how to handle sending your kid off to college last week. Since I have worked on college campuses for over 10 years, I have seen thousands of parents go through the struggle of “letting go” the day the drop their kids off on-campus and beyond. It is definitely not an easy transition, but it is an important one. Here are my thoughts on a few of Woodruff’s “Do’s and Don’ts” and my own observations:
Don’t: Worry too much about being the first one in the room to get the “best bed”. Woodruff suggest getting there early to get the ideal spot, but most dorm rooms are pretty basic, so it may not be all that easy to differieniate which spot is better than the other. I remember when I moved in to my first dorm room and my roommate got the bed under the window before I did. My mom was not happy, but guess what, I lived through my freshman year just fine.
Do: Call your kids, but don’t freak out if they don’t call you back right away. I can’t tell you how many frantic phone calls I have gotten from parents who have not heard from their kids in a few days. You new college kid has a lot going on. Send them a text or an email and just ask them to respond to let you know they are OK.
Don’t: Linger too long. The last college I worked at actually put in the orientation program a time for parents to say good-bye and hit the road. Some still did not get the hint.
Do: Attend the orientation sessions that are meant for parents. Don’t skip out on sessions to go buy stuff for your child’s dorm room. They can take care of that later. The sessions are important and you will be happy with the information you receive.
I don’t pretend to know how difficult it is to send a child off to college. It is something I won’t experience for a while, but I hope when the time comes for me to say good-bye to my daughter, I will take comfort in knowing that she is ready for an exciting new experience. I am sure there will also be more than a few tears involved!