We are fortunate to meet all kinds of parents and families throughout the year, and many teach us as much as we teach them. Recently, we heard from a parent who wanted to share some advice for other families going through the transition to college. These are her words and her experiences.
After my daughter confirmed to CSU, she spent the summer finding a roommate, planning her move, and attending Ram Orientation.
As a parent, I spent my time attending Parent and Family Orientation and learning about details like dining options, campus safety, tuition payments, 529 plans, and health insurance coverage. I also spent time making travel arrangements since we are from out-of-state. Flying was a big time-saver for us. My daughter packed several duffle bags so they could easily be stored during the school year. We used the pick-up service through our local Bed, Bath and Beyond, and scheduled a pick-up date at the Fort Collins store.
Move-in week in August approached quickly, and although we prepared well we still learned much from the experience.
CSU has specific move-in days for freshman and transfer students with flexible scheduling based on when you’re able to arrive on campus. During move-in, streets are blocked off and volunteers swarmed to help unload our car. I only carried in a pillow. I was prepared for long lines and a stressful day and was blown away by how smooth it was for our student to check in. CSU has this down to a science!
Dining halls (which are very good) begin serving meals on move-in day and both family and students are welcome to eat there. This was so helpful given the hectic pace.
The hardest part about move-in as an out-of-state family is the limited window of time you have to coordinate drop-off and get back to the store for other needs. We checked with the RA and checked our student’s schedule for additional time, which was helpful.
How do you say good-bye?
Parents, this is a life-changing event for you and your student. Do not underestimate the need to grieve (a.k.a. shed tears) amidst the excitement and pace of getting ready. This happened for me after high school graduation more so than at drop-off. It hits everyone differently.
To avoid a rushed good-bye, I chose to write my daughter a letter telling her all the things I wanted to her to know, how much she meant to me, and how much I believed in her. It gave me peace of mind so I could feel complete as a parent and it gave my daughter something to read after we left.
The next few weeks were a bit quieter. Plan something to look forward to when you get home. Let your student reach out to you as they are ready. They are testing their wings and need to tell you they can fly even though they are scared, too. This is all new for them no matter how well prepared they are. When you hear their voice, it is awesome! If your student is challenged, reach out to the many resources you will learn about at orientation.
I wanted to share my major insights because the experience can feel overwhelming, and you may worry that you are out of the loop at times. I hope that my experience will allow you to feel more prepared for what’s coming in the year ahead.
I love that my daughter is a Ram. I hope you have the same experience.
Best wishes. GO RAMS!
Sue is a parent from the Lake Zurich, Illinois area