Preparing Your New Freshman for a College Move
If your son or daughter is preparing to leave home to go to college, there are probably a lot of mixed feelings in your household at the moment. He or she is probably both excited and a bit nervous, while you, as a parent, are probably doing your best to be supportive despite the likely flood of emotions coursing through you, especially if it’s your first-born who is leaving. Amidst everything that you are all feeling, however, stress is likely to be near the top of the list.
For your grown child, thoughts running through their head are probably along the following lines: Am I going to be able to make new friends? What if my classes are too hard? How much of my stuff will fit into the dorm? What am I going to have to leave behind?
For you, the parent, your thoughts are probably along the lines of: Will he/she be able to handle the workload? What if they get into trouble at a party? Are they going to get enough to eat? Will they have everything they need? How am I going to get all of their stuff there?
Now, shut your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to five. Open your eyes again, and listen carefully to the next words we’re about to say.
Everything will work out just fine.
You have been raising your son or daughter for almost twenty years by now. They will be equipped to handle whatever comes their way, and so will you. To make the transition easier for everyone, we have some tips to offer that stems from our own experiences with both our families and our customers.
1. Be Encouraging
As a parent, it is your job to worry, but it is also your job to keep your worry concealed to give your son or daughter confidence. Crack jokes, tell them stories about when you or someone you know was in college, and remind them over and over again that everything will be fine. Make it clear that they can always call you if they need anything. They will probably act annoyed or impatient, but they will still probably appreciate the offer and remember it down the road. The more encouraging you are, the more confident your son or daughter will likely be.
2. Inquire About Space
At least a month or two before your son or daughter is scheduled to leave, either look on the college’s website or call the appropriate office to learn the dimensions of the dorm that they will be staying in. Write down the dimensions and subtract about half of the measurements to accommodate for a roommate’s portion of space. The remaining space is what will be left for your son or daughter to work with.
3. Get in Touch with Roommate
If possible, have your son or daughter get in touch with their new roommate. Oftentimes, the school will provide your child with a housing assignment and at least the name if not also the address and/or phone number of their roommate. If your child is on the shyer side, reassure them that it is normal to reach out to their roommate before meeting so that they can go over each other’s inventory. Whether your child and their roommate talk over the phone, via social media, or are even able to meet in person, talking before moving in helps not only break the ice before arriving to school and putting them at ease, but it gives them an opportunity to plan ahead. For instance, maybe your son or daughter will bring a microwave while their roommate brings a mini fridge. By discussing such things, everyone can ensure that no one is bringing anything unnecessary to take up the cramped space while simultaneously guaranteeing that everything they both need will be there. Not to mention, they can go over personal habits with each other and make preparations to accommodate each other’s habits before they could become a problem.
4. Consider Storage Options
More than likely, your son or daughter will not be able to bring all of their belongings to college with them, as most freshman dorm rooms are very small. Though this is a great time to purge whatever your son or daughter no longer wants, it is unfair to expect them to throw away everything they have that won’t fit in a dorm, especially considering that they will likely get to have more space at school during their upperclassman years. Either prepare a space in your home that is specially reserved for the possessions they won’t be taking or rent a storage unit. You can rent a unit that is near your home or try to find one near your child’s college so that they can still access those items while at school. Moving Ahead Services provides storage units if you would like to rent one from us. Just ask about our available locations.
5. Prepare for the Move
Depending on how much stuff your son or daughter is bringing and how far they are going, you can move their belongings in your vehicle, rent a moving truck, or hire a professional moving company like Moving Ahead Services to speed up the process. The farther you have to travel, the smarter it is to have a moving company handle the relocation, as your son or daughter may be expected to participate in various freshman activities that same day or want to go off on their own to meet people and get to know their campus. We also recommend hiring a moving company because it will eliminate stress for everyone and prevent family tiffs from occurring before you leave. Whether you decide to move everything yourselves or go with a professional company, try to plan out the move at least a month in advance to keep everyone’s worries at bay.
6. Be Understanding
Your son or daughter is at an odd stage in their life where they are still very young and inexperienced, but entering adulthood and independence. Show faith in them and pass over the reins. Even if they are being difficult or moody before or during their departure from home, it is likely stemming from stress, so do your best to be patient and try not to nag or scold them. After all, you won’t be able to do that while they are away. Your son or daughter is probably trying to prepare to be on their own, which is usually either frightening or welcoming, or both, for people their age, and they need your support in completing this transition. After getting to their college and unloading their belongings, give them space if they want it rather than hovering. They may want you to stay and help them unpack and decorate, but they may want you to leave so that they can collect themselves and get to know their new environment. Remember that this is not a personal attack against you, but a signal that they are ready to grow up and that you have done your job.