Your student has made it through elementary & secondary schooling. They have been accepted to college, and now the long awaited college move-in day has arrived. Now what? Before you get overwhelmed, take a moment and read over my tried & true advice to get you through the day.
I am on my third year of college move-in days, and each year I learn a little something new. But that is okay. This is a new and exciting time for students and parents, and it is ok to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. That is why I am here to help!
Make Some Lists(And Be Prepared To Use Them)
I am a list maker, I always have been. And this is your most important tool for a starting point for packing your student to head out to college. I generally start this in early June, especially when it is the best time to start shopping for college school supplies.
Plan Early For This Important Day
As I said earlier, starting to plan early will help cut down on some of your anxiety. At this point, your student is more concerned about making new friends, signing up for clubs, finding their way around campus, etc. Well, at least with the boys. Girls, from what I understand, start earlier because of planning their dorm decor theme.
Along the same lines, remember this: less is more. You really don’t need as much as you think you will need. Space is limited, and you often have to get creative with storage space. So try to streamline things before you go, to prevent having to drag home a bunch of things that you have no place to put.
Don’t Panic Before Move-In Day
I should probably repeat this twice, but seriously, don’t panic and get overwhelmed. It does go fairly smoothly. Don’t overthink things, and you will be perfectly ok!
There isn’t a child who hasn’t gone out into the brave new world who eventually doesn’t return to the old homestead carrying a bundle of dirty clothes. ~Art Buchwald
Read About College Move-In Day On The School Website
Most colleges have instructions on their websites for move-in day. My son goes to Pennsylvania State University, and they have a whole area of their website that deals just with college move-in day.
This is very important because it also tells students what they cannot bring. By knowing this ahead of time, it can cut down on a mini-meltdown from your student because they can’t bring their portable air conditioner or an electric griddle.
Schools will also send emails that also outline the important information you will need for move-in day, so make sure your student reads it or shows it to you or even prints it out.
Prepare To Do Some Waiting That Morning
Depending on the size of your school, waiting will be a big part of the day. You have to wait your turn for a parking spot, and often a rolling bin to help bring your stuff in. Then you will need to wait for the elevator. And then you will have to wait to navigate down the hallway while other people are trying to maneuver their bin into a room.
So by knowing this ahead of time, it should hopefully make things a little less stressful. Because, as we know, college move-in day is just as stressful for parents as it is for students.
Accept The Fact You Will Forget Things
One thing I like to recommend to new parents is to spend time Googling local stores around your student’s college. Because you will forget things. And, sometimes it is easier to buy things up there, instead of trying to stuff them in an already packed vehicle.
You should buy laundry detergent once you get to the school, along with things like body wash, toothpaste, etc. It cuts down on the possibility that things will burst in the car and prevent another mini-meltdown if things would get ruined.
How To Say Goodbye On College Move-In Day
Now, I think this is the hardest part of college move-in day. Saying goodbye is never easy, and it seems harder on the parents. I have yet to leave him at school without having tears. I tend to wait until we are back in the car, but I want to stress to all the parents out there that it is okay if you can’t.
One of the things I have learned is to say your goodbyes in a public place. There tends to be a lot less emotions, and it makes it seem like they are just going to hang out with friends back home.
The last thing I have learned is be the ones to walk away first. Let them spread their wings and move on to the next part of their life. Give them the chance to find new friends, learn their way around, and relish their independence. After all, they earned it!
I hope you feel a little more prepared for college move-in day, at least on the parental side of the day. The kids, well, they just do. But make sure you let them know they can call you anytime. We set up a weekly Skype chat with the entire family, which really helps missing them.
My son will text me at various times as well. And nothing makes this Mom happier than when he randomly calls just to chat. And nothing makes me prouder than knowing he is living up to his potential.
My youngest is starting college as well this year, but he decided to start at community college. When the time comes for him to head to his next college, I should be completely prepared.