Family

10 Last-minute tips for your child going off to college

Some words of advice on how to make the transition easier

Dear child leaving home,

I know we’ve already gone over everything I could think of, from oil changes to nutrition choices to staying safe.

I keep bringing things up because you’ll be in charge of everything now, all your own decisions. I know you know that already — and can’t wait.

But here are 10 last tips to make the transition easier:

1. We love you. You can always call.

2. Homesickness is a reality. It happens to everyone. It’s usually worst the third day. (At least, I know it was for me. By day three, I already didn’t get along with my roommates and I’d lost my purse with my keys, ID, and checkbook. It was a mess. I was a mess.) I didn’t want to go to the mixers or anything social. Fortunately, a friend pushed me to go anyway. Everyone is feeling homesick. So don’t sulk; go meet them.

3. Stay active. Go for a jog, study, explore all the nooks and crannies of your school.

4. Get involved. Volunteer. Even if you’re not a joiner, join. Go. It will help you find what you want to do, and have a little fun on the side.

5. Journal. Write your goals, your dreams, your fears. (It’s better than Twitter because you can look back easily and see how far you’ve come).

6. Pray. Go to Sunday Mass at least. (You knew I’d tell you this, because I’m Catholicmom, but growing up is hard, and you will need grace, strength, fortitude, wisdom, courage, and humor to get through it. Prayer and the Eucharist are the swiftest means of acquiring all these gifts. Also, if you feel stuck and don’t feel you can ask me, ask the Blessed Mother for help. She will help. She always does.)

More to read: A student’s prayer for the start of a new school year  

7. Ask others to go with you to meals so you don’t eat alone. Go along when someone says, “Hey, I’m going to lunch…”

8. Write a schedule every day, or at least a to do list. Organization will help structure your day and prevent boredom. (Plus, it’s preparation for life after college, no matter what career or vocation you choose.)

9. Ask. Ask someone about his home and about his hopes. Listen to what he says. The easiest way to create friendship is to be kind to someone else and right now, every freshman and transfer is homesick (see tip 2). Creating community comes from shared experiences, shared goals, and shared lives. It also takes time. It will happen. Trust that it will.

10. Be yourself. You’re pretty awesome. Your family knows you can do this; we wouldn’t send you if we didn’t think you could. So no worries.

Love, Mom