Well, it’s finally happened. We officially have a college freshman. Operation Dropping my Daughter off at College is officially official.
Move-in day is complete and she is now getting settled in her dorm at St. John’s University. It seemed like it was just yesterday when we made the trek to New York City for college visiting day and now it’s really real.
I can’t explain my feelings at this time. I’m experiencing a mixture of joy with twinges of sadness because my baby girl is no longer under my roof. Like, your daughter lives with you for 18 years and BOOM—she’s off to another city in another time zone. Just. Like. That.
Nothing can truly prepare you for this.
Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay. – The Dalai Lama
I am happy for her. Elated. Thrilled. She is the first of both of my children to go to college. It is something that she has talked about doing since she was in the fourth grade. Laylah has worked hard to get where she is and has a determination and drive that is commendable. I cannot wait to see what she does next.
Move-in day went as planned–for the most part. There were a few things that helped our move-in day be less stressful.
Here are a few tips to help you with college move-in:
When moving from state to state for college, you may think that you need to have everything with you when you help your college student move. That isn’t the case and in fact, overpacking could help add more stress than is needed. Instead, pack what is absolutely needed. Make a list. Move in and then assess what is still needed. Then make a few trips to the nearest Target, Walmart, etc. to get the additional items. This will help save you all both stress and time. Plus, after moving into the dorm room, you know the size and you can buy accordingly.
I saw so many families who had too much stuff and therefore had to ship the items back or load them back into their cars. Moms and dads bought mini-fridges that had to be returned because the dorm suites already had them. Desks had to be returned because there were already desks in the dorm. Some people had so much stuff that there wasn’t enough room in the dorm room to move around.
Don’t freak out. Your college student will feed off of that and it can cause them anxiety and other issues. Instead, breathe. If an issue comes up, don’t fret. Relax. Make sure you have important numbers for Resident Services, Public Safety, and the like. The more calm and organized you are, the better the move will go.
Connect before you travel
At least two weeks before the scheduled move-in, make sure that you’ve confirmed the move-in date and time as well as the other particulars for the trip. Is there an orientation that your family must attend? Are there required events during this process? Has the financial aid and other obligations been taken care of? There’s nothing worse than traveling to the school from out of state and being told that something is wrong.
Cross your T’s and dot your I’s and verify all important information before you travel.
Map it out
Learn the area around the school. Where are the grocery stores and other places that they will need to shop? Is there a bus line or a subway? Have your student download the necessary apps so that they get to know the area as well. Make sure that you have a day for you all to familiarize yourself with the area.
Don’t take over
This is going to sound counterintuitive, but let your college student lead if they can. Don’t take over this process, as they want to exert their capabilities and they need to–they will be living on their own at college. You won’t be able to oversee everything they do now, so this college move-in process is their dress rehearsal for the real thing. Let them decide how their room will be decorated. Let them select their bedding, etc. Let them introduce themselves to their dorm mates.
Sometimes things come up. Life happens. Be adaptable and pivot when needed. This helps your college student learn how to overcome obstacles with quick thinking. Having a Plan B and sometimes C can come in handy as well. Try to be as prepared as you can.
Most colleges and universities have a Facebook Group for parents and staff who often pop in to help answer questions and share important information. Make sure to join these groups as well as follow the official social media pages of the school.
Learn policies and procedures
Do your best to learn the policies and procedures of the college your student is attending and make sure that they know too. Knowing this information can help when issues arise, plus it can give you a sense of security to know how issues are handled on campus.
Dropping my daughter off at college has been a bittersweet endeavor, one that I know I will look back fondly on. These tips helped me and I hope they can help you as well.
For more parenting through college topics, visit Grown and Flown.