Tomorrow, you, my first born, my daughter, begin college. Coincidentally, the date coincides with the anniversary of my first day of employment at the same campus—22 years ago. Kids were not even in my vernacular then, while learning to navigate work at a giant research university. Whereas I was well into a career in higher education and on my third campus by that time, you are an amateur. A freshman. Have I taught you everything you need to know?
Life skill lists for college students focus on separating laundry and being able to change a tire. I am glad that you are getting the hang of laundry after begging for that help for years. It is exciting that you have figured out how to use the washing machine, if not the frequency. Do you want to learn how to change a tire? Your grandpa made me practice before leaving home. But as you do not drive, relying on your bicycle, public transportation and the kindness of friends, just remember to look both ways before crossing the street. Budgeting has been a little harder, but you have seen that bank accounts are not infinite. You are smart to take advantage of haircuts and shopping while with me!
We bridged the moving away from home event several weeks ago as you moved into off campus digs and began setting up a home. It was miserable, for ME, but you enjoyed your new-found freedom from curfews and assigned chores. Your new place is coming along nicely (do the dishes!) In hindsight, this early fleeing of the nest was good for both of us allowing new routines to be established. Less crying now, again from ME.
Sweetie, you are brilliant and ready to take on the world, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Trust me. After nearly 30 years working with college students and 18 years of being your mom, I know these things. But just a few more words of wisdom to share…
- Go to bed early. At least sometimes.
- Set two alarms (I know you like to sleep in).
- Greet the day with a smile, it has much to bring you.
- Being on time means arriving early.
- Take lots of notes in every class.
- Rewrite your notes after class and add text readings.
- Make lists, there is a lot to remember.
- Do you have an umbrella?
- Address your instructor as professor, it covers many titles.
- Drink lots of water, less caffeine.
And finally, do you remember the words of advice that I shared every day you were in elementary school? They are still important.
- Be a good friend.
- Listen to your teachers (er, professors).
- Listen more than you talk, there is much to learn.
- Always do your best.
PS. Text me a first day of college selfie!