It’s been a long, stressful, idle-hands summer full of sloth, poor choices, nervousness, petty arguments, and tearful goodbyes. Now it’s time to drop your greatest earthly treasure off at college. How will you survive it?
1. Calm down. 4.25 million families are doing the same thing you’re doing, and you don’t see them crying about it every ten minutes.
2. Contextualize your suffering by imagining all the families bringing their kid to a school with a lower ranking.
3. If traveling by air, point at your child and tell baggage-check clerks, gate agents, flight attendants, first officers, and pilots that you’re “doin’ the ol’ college drop off.” In order to access the soothing power of mantras, say it exactly like that every time — “doin’ the ol’ college drop off.” Don’t forget to point at your child while you say it.
4. As soon as you arrive, get yourself to the campus bookstore to buy a school T-shirt and hat. You’ll want to wear these on move-in day.
5. I’m told all the cool kids bring a receiver, an amplifier, a subwoofer, a five-disc CD changer, a tape-to-tape cassette player, and two of those three-foot-tall Boston Acoustics speakers.
6. When you set out for your “Take the Kid to College Trip” you won’t know who it will be, but someone in your family will insist on buying storage containers. Any efforts to the contrary are a fool’s errand.
7. When buying new bed linen, ask yourself what would you want to sleep in if you had a UTI.
8. The roommate is totally giving off vape-culture vibes. Zen this. Really, there’s nothing you can do about it.
9. Kids love to hear stories that begin “When I was in college…” so keep those rolling all weekend long.
10. Yes, the room is smaller than you thought it would be. Yes, you bought/brought too much stuff. Yes, capitalism has a solution for this. Yes, the solution is storage containers.
12. Avoid foods that leave you a little gassy.
13. Colleges love money, but they hate air conditioning and elevators. Dress sensibly; favor comfortable shoes and lightweight fabrics.
14. It’s NOT okay to “christen” the dorm room bathroom.
15. If you’re returning to an empty nest, don’t feel sad. Remember: this is why you decided to get two Golden Doodle puppies last spring.
16. A few months down the road, when you find yourself missing your child, most experts recommend leaving a half-eaten bowl of cereal in your living room for a few days.
17. Your child FaceTimes you — great!
18. You FaceTime your child — sketchy!
19. Confine joyous celebrations and other emotional displays to designated areas.
20. But mainly, count your blessings. There’s a lot to celebrate. Your student’s accomplishments have led to this significant achievement, and they are well-positioned for future success. On top of all that, most student loan payments are deferred for four years, and, technically, your kid is on the hook for those.