Back in August I was blogging quite a bit about my son going off to college. Five months later, I am happy to report that his first semester was a success! His adjustment period was short and he was off and running faster than I expected, a wonderful and pleasant surprise.
I am sure it is easier for him than many others since he stayed in state and lives in the dorm that is just across town from our home. But, I kid you not, even though he stayed local, he has only been home to sleep overnight twice! Once when his wisdom teeth were extracted (not a fun visit) and then again for Thanksgiving. And we loved that he asked us to host several new friends he made in college since it would be so far for them to travel home. We got to meet his nice new pals and they told us that they thoroughly enjoyed our visit. They appreciated a home cooked meal and just being…well…relaxed…in a home as opposed to their cramped (but exciting and fun) dorm rooms.
They all told us that they missed their families and homes and that spending time with us, in the house that our boy grew up in, made them excited to plan their own Christmas trips home. They are from San Francisco, Connecticut and Boston. Our boy making such nice new friends is one reason that he has adjusted so well.
I also believe that his smooth transition is because I took my husband’s advice and “let him be”…not easy for the mamas, I know! However, I truly acted like he had gone far away to college. I resisted the urge to drive to his dorm to see him, sent him a care package and checked in weekly via text messages. When he needed me for the wisdom teeth weekend and other situations, I was here and he knew it. This system has worked well.
My husband took him to lunch a few times and that was nice for both of them. The deeper the semester progressed, the less they lunched. Again, my hubs let him be and happily accepted that as a sign that our boy was thriving and not needing his parents as much as the semester wore on.
I am very happy to report that our Jack earned straight As and is on the Dean’s List, so the first semester grade book is a success!
I am also super excited to report that although my son doesn’t always want to hear my advice (this is a normal response that especially hits around 18 when they want to make their own decisions) he did listen to one of my nuggets of advice. Since he is studying sports journalism and my degree is in journalism, I stressed to him how important internships and experience will be as he is working towards, hopefully, being employed upon graduation in a very competitive field. I stressed this to him a couple of times and then I backed off and left it up to him. Success! He is doing some of the play by play announcing for ASU hockey and he also accepted a paid internship with a local sports organization! Here are two :30 second clips of his announcing gig. We are SO proud and excited for him!
So for those of you parents with high school seniors who may be a bit anxious about what next year brings, I can tell you to enjoy your time with your kiddo now. The rest of senior year will fly right by followed by the exciting and busy graduation season. Then a few quiet weekends in the summer followed by the college move frenzy. Take it one step at a time, take it in, support your senior, then help your new college freshman fly the nest gently, while paying attention to how he or she needs you to react and behave as the transition is made. You are also adjusting, so give yourself some understanding as well.
As the ASU guidance counselors told us at orientation, you will probably hear from them a lot at first and then less and less. When that happens, take comfort in knowing that their transition from home to college, resulting in less communication with the parents, means that you did your job. You did your job well. Through the many joys, laughs, challenges, tears and memories that raising a child takes us through, you laid the roots and now they spread their wings and fly. Now through college, your job is to help them along, sort of like a quiet, but disciplined co-pilot, as they take flight…and hopefully four years later…soar. Really soar! How wonderful it will be to see them soar! And they will fly home at times. To their home base, to their roots to see you. To love you. To thank you.
Now back to our freshman year. Our boy will be home in a two days to celebrate Christmas with us. We will cherish our time with him, have some fun and then watch him fly back to the dorm to conquer his second semester of his first year in college. We hope he will continue to conquer it, as that is up to him. So far, so good.