By Heidi Fisher
He’s armed with his XL twin sheets and comforter, a shower basket to carry his shampoo/toiletries, a surge protector with enough outlets to energize his computer, tv, x-box, laptop, iPhone, mini fridge, etc. Sounds like my son is all set for his freshman year in college, right? Well, not quite yet. The big question is, “Does he have the life skills to make this transition less stressful and therefore, more successful?”
When you are used to a live-in maid, cook, personal shopper and in-house laundromat (me, my husband, me and me again), getting settled at college could be more unsettling than it needs to be.
So even though the “getting-ready” clock is ticking, there’s still time to get our college bound kids prepared and make campus living a little easier.
- Learn to do laundry. Resist the urge to pick up clothes from the bedroom floor (or wherever else it lands) and have your child do his or her own laundry.
- Understand how to budget. Most banks offer apps to help manage a credit /ATM card and bank account. The top college student budgeting apps can be found
- Shop for toiletries in person or on-line. Remind your student to get replacement toiletries before they are all gone.
- Teach the benefits of asking for help when needed. If your new student is feeling overwhelmed with classwork or living conditions, have a plan of who or where to ask for help. Find out your college resources before school begins.
- Help them understand the importance of when to work and when to play. School can be a big party scene, but schoolwork comes first.
- Prepare to share. Living with a roommate can be great… annoying… or both. Talk about sharing as well as setting up boundaries. Kelci Lynn Lucier, author of College Stress Solutions offers some tips
- Look up where the infirmary is on campus and make sure your student has a current ID and insurance card at school, just in case they need medical care.
We all know that no matter how much we prepare, there will be some bumps in the road. Checking in, without over checking is a good skill for parents to learn before and while their kids are experiencing this major milestone. Personally, this skill will be a work in progress for me.
Joe Honsberger, a JCS Clinical Therapist suggests, “Remind them that you are just a phone call away and that it’s okay for them to call anytime.” Although legally our kids are considered adults at 18, college is a big change and a little family support can go a long way.
Good luck to you and your college freshman. Here’s to good things ahead!
Heidi Fisher is a Communication Specialist for JCS.
JCS provides individuals and families throughout Central Maryland with a broad array of services and resources for emotional and behavioral health, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, financial stability, and living with disabilities. To learn how JCS can help you live your best life, please visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.