My kids are on the young side, and I like to think that I am too, so it may be wishful thinking, but I think that I’m more closely able to relate to the college student still instead of the parent of the college student. And it is on that reason that I like to base the subject of this post, because I think that I can offer some recommendations on the perfect care package that you can send to your new college student this year. In my experience, the first few months of college are the hardest. The support system of friends and knowledge that the student has actually managed to pass at least a class or two aren’t developed yet, so the new college student is still in a bit of a lurch. Whether he or she is trying to hold on to friends at home, friends who went off to other colleges, high school loves, or on the completely opposite end perhaps he or she is trying to forget home, high school, and forge a new life for him or herself. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s going to be a transition period for your child and it’s important that some support system exists. Even if they’re flying the coop, some help from mom and dad is probably not be unwelcome.
But what does a parent send to the student who has left home behind and gone on to hopeful collegiate success? What would be a perfect pick-me-up from home to remind your student that the family not only cares, but supports the college dream? Parents often have advice and guidance that they would love to pass on to their kids, but it’s hard to find the right moment to really send the encouragement and support without making the student feel as though their life may or may not live up to the expectations of the parents. Sometimes just receiving a book that means that the student can read on his or her own time without the pressure of being graded or having to answer quiz questions about it can help. Eventually your child will, between parties and study sessions, find that some advice would be helpful – even appreciated – but asking for it is often the hardest part.
I received a book written by Ellen Bremen, a college professor, called Say This, NOT That to Your Professor, and when I first read it I knew that it would be exactly perfect for a parent to send in a care package to a child. If I had only had this boo when I was in school, I like to think that I would’ve taken it all more seriously. I think that my favorite part of the book is that it’s written for a college student – when he or she runs into a problem, the table of contents is the perfect system to look up the answer. The chapters are written with a formula of examples of real life – what a student might say, what the professor thinks when the student says that, and example of a real story and a back story, as well as the information about what you should and shouldn’t say to your professor with an explanation of why those answers are correct. Not only are these real life examples of what Ms. Bremen as heard as a professor, but they’re what your child will run into at college. Right now, with Generation Tech, I think that one of the most important sections may be dealing with social media, technology, and putting down your cell phone. I really think that this will be an excellent resource for your college-bound student. While it would’ve made a great high school graduation gift, I think it is better as a part of the perfect care package for your new college student.
What else would I include in the perfect care package? I’m glad you asked! (Ok, I know I totally asked that, but you know, it flows.) I would also include at least a batch or two of chocolate chip cookies (what student doesn’t love cookies, and they can’t make them in their dorms – trust me, I tried when I was in a dorm!) with a piece of bread in it to keep from drying out and tasting stale, a roll or two of quarters, and a gift card to a restaurant that’s not too far from campus. If your child has a car at college, I’d also include a gift card for gas. There you go – now your kid has laundry money, at least one decent meal, snacks, and most importantly a resource of great information that they can read when they need help without having to ask. I think it will go a long way in building a great college start for your new college student!