Move-in Day: Tips to assist with saying goodbye to your college freshman
You’ve prepped for graduation, survived the summer before departure, and now it is time to say goodbye. Time to pack the car and begin the much-anticipated trip for the college freshman drop off. You have a knot in your stomach, and no matter how much you have rehearsed the moment, it ends with a bag of mixed emotions.
First, RELIEF-you made it through summer, and you think it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be!
Second, ELATION-you are happy your child has opportunities to move to the next step and to see where that leads them.
Finally, SADNESS-at least this was an emotion all too familiar for me when I dropped each daughter off.
I made the brave march of the moments, the first time I held my daughters, the fun trips we did together, our moments of laughter, and you guessed it, I was weeping. But, I made sure it was in private!! The tears were tears of joy, but most importantly they were tears of gratitude. Thankful that God has given me, two wonderful children, that I love and respect with all my heart and that I have a relationship of trust and unconditional love with both. (Geez, the tears are returning!) Then I realize this moment is inevitable and I thank God that I have the relationship I do with my daughters and I realize I will see them again, and I start packing the car!
You’re at this point now and your car is packed, you’ve put everyone in, and begin the journey for the freshman drop-off. The following are some tips to assist with the goodbye:
- Keep it real. I am not a dad that is afraid to show emotions in front of my daughters. Now should be no exception. Let them know that you love them unconditionally and share your sadness but also how excited you are for them to begin this journey! Most importantly, regardless of the distance or time zone differences, you are always there for them.
- Keep it simple. Allow the time to be personal with your young adults as you enter the moments. I have known people who do the large farewell party with family and friends. Events such as this are good. However, I wanted the packing and departure to be close and time with Dawn (my beautiful and wonderful wife) and our girls.
- Keep it hopeful. Your emotions are different. As parents, our focus is loss and the quiet home coupled with the empty bedroom. Our college student is focused on, will I make friends, will I be accepted, will I like my roommate? We are at differing points on our emotional journey. Allow the intersection of these points to be HOPE. Your kids will pick up on this. Reassure with words that enforce their decision and provide great hope for their new journey.
- We survive! You will survive the goodbye, and your new college student will call, and they will assure you they love you and all is well. After the drop-off, you find ways to fill your time and support in a new and different manner; a manner that is reflective of a parent of a child who has grown into adulthood.
Thank you for taking the time to read these blogs! Being a dad and husband is the greatest joy of my life; the second was serving as a high school principal and sharing in the joy of preparing our students for the opportunity to make good transitions into college, military or jobs.
Read more from Doc Loc:
Edina High School Principal and Dad.
Bruce Locklear, Ed.D. is an experienced High School Principal, Adjunct Instructor at Bethel University and current Director Of Educational Relations at Jostens