Now that 2016 has arrived, we are preparing to send our kids back to their college towns already! For me, it’s hard to believe that a year has passed since we were anxiously waiting to hear about college decision acceptance or rejection letters. Now that very stressful and anxious time is replaced with the promise of an amazing college journey.
During our daughter’s first semester in college, we needed to learn to let go and let her navigate her new found independence in her college town. On a basic level, this meant hoping that she was eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, making good decisions and finding a new group of good friends. In many ways, the first year of college reminds me of the first year of middle school, e.g. it is a time as a parent that we learn to let go a little bit and also to find new and unique ways to support and help navigate the myriad of opportunities and obstacles presented to our kids. Of course, in college, these lessons and parental anxieties are amplified by the fact that these un-navigated waters are also being chartered long distance, and the magnitude of waves and obstacles seem so much larger and more frequent!
Our winter break was spent enjoying all the renewed activity of having our kids back home, yet at the same time also seeing and discerning how they have adjusted, grown and matured (no not!) while away from home. As we send our kids back to their college towns, this time it is with a sense of pride, mixed with relief that we all survived, and in many ways thrived during the first term away at college. Now that my daughter is settled back into her dorm, she wants to decorate more, make it feel more like home, or at least a home away from home.
From hometowns to college towns, here’s hoping that your college kids are learning to make their college towns their home away from home!