college parent

How to shop for college in a warm climate

how to shop for college in a warm climate dorm essentials

What to buy for college in a warm climate from top left: box fan / carabiner clips / small, personal fan / large water bottle / air purifier fan / shower shoes / platform walking sandals / walking sandals /

Congrats! It is past May 1, which means your child has committed to a college for the fall semester. If you are reading this, chances are your child committed to a university in a warm climate. If you are from a warm climate, then you already know what to pack for your child in August, if not, here are a few suggestions to help your child survive in the those over one-hundred-degree temperatures.

Clothing: When it comes to clothing, this will not be rocket science. Your child will want to bring machine washable clothing. Stay away from dry clean only items because in warm climates, your child will be doing a lot of laundry. There is no point in having items out of circulation because they need dry cleaning; and let’s face it, college kids don’t run off the to the dry cleaners once a week. What a hassle! Look for lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton.

Footwear: College requires a ton of walking. Even with small schools, there will be a lot of walking. I attended a small urban school for undergrad and many of my classes had ten to fifteen minutes walks between them, so don’t underestimate the amount of walking your child will do. If the weather is hot, and sneakers are too warm, a good walking sandal will be in order, even if they are considered ugly by your child. Chances are, once they are on campus, they will see other students in ugly walking sandals. College kids roll out of bed and roll into class. It isn’t the fashion show they may have experienced in high school. College is casual, so walking sandals are perfectly acceptable. Of course, keep a couple of cute pairs for going out!

Fans: Even if your child has a renovated dorm room with AC, they may still need a fan. If your child’s dorm is old school, a box fan will be in order. I recommend a box fan for the window, and an individual fan for the desk. There is a good chance your child will not be allowed to bring a portable AC, so invest in a good fan. If your child’s school is in a location where allergies could kick up, I recommend investing in an air purifying fan such as this one by Dyson.

Water bottle: This may sound like a no brainer, but in a warm climate, your child will need to drink a ton of water. Invest in a good water bottle they can fit in their backpack and has a handle they can attach to their backpack with a carabiner clip.

Well, that’s it! These are the essentials for ensuring a comfortable transition from home to a warm climate in college. The most important thing your child can do is drink plenty of water. Congrats on your new journey!

Thanks for stopping by!



Tips for a successful college orientation

tips for a successful college orientation

Over the summer, students entering college will attend their college orientation. This is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for college students, as they might stay overnight in a dorm room, create their fall schedule, and get a taste of what living away from home and attending college will be like, even if it is only for one day.

Each university has its own way of conducting orientation. One of the popular versions of college orientation is to stay overnight in a dorm room and attend two days of workshops. One of these workshops will include creating the students fall schedule. This is both exciting and slightly scary for your student, as she/he will realize that the dream of attending college is soon to be a reality. They will live in a small dorm room with a skinny, uncomfortable mattress and be subjected to cafeteria food. Mommy and daddy will not be around to do their laundry, make sure they wake up in the morning, and tell them to go to bed on time. While the thought of all of this independence is intriguing, it can be scary at the same time; especially if a child isn’t disciplined on their own.

As a parent, orientation is also a reality check that your child will be leaving home soon, and that is a hard thought to wrap your head around. The night they stay in a dorm room, even though it is only for one night, is a huge wake-up call. You will need to be mentally prepared.

Whether you drive or fly to orientation, it will be a small little trip out of town. Have fun with it! Arrive to the college town early and do a small amount of sight-seeing. This will make you, the parent, more comfortable with the surrounding area as well as acquaint your child with the location of their future home. Before orientation starts, look around at the surrounding area of the college. Where can your student walk to? Are there affordable restaurants nearby? If your student loves ramen for example, is there a place close to campus she/he can go to on the weekends? Is there a CVS or other convenience store close to campus? Is there one on campus?

Walk around the campus and give yourself a self-guided tour before you drop off your student for orientation. This will give you a chance to bond over the tour and make you, the parent, feel like part of the school. The more familiar you are with the school, the less scary the whole experience will be.

Attend all the workshops! The students will go off and do their own sessions during orientation, and there are usually workshops and presentations for the parents. Go to everything! This is a great way to learn more about the school and start to feel connected to the school community. It will also help you, help your child.

Your student will stay overnight in an undecorated, stuffy dorm room. They might freak out. Make sure your phone is charged and by your side so if they call, you can remind them that when they move in, they will decorate the room. Also remind them you can get a gel foam mattress cover to make the bed more comfortable. If you reassure them, they will feel better. Hopefully they are having fun and won’t notice the bare dorm room.

When orientation is over, don’t rush home. Ask your student if there is anything on campus they want to check out before you leave. Take a look at their schedule and find the buildings their classes will be in during their first semester. This will help them feel ready for starting classes, and it will also let you help them before they go away.

Don’t let them see you sweat. There is a chance your child is excited and thrilled to go away to college and you are a hot mess. Try to hold your hot mess inside when your student is around so that they can enjoy this life-changing event. I know it’s hard, but all parents go through it. You are not alone. Join the parents’ group online for your child’s college and make connections with other parents. If the school is not local, look for parents’ groups locally and join them. This will help you make local connections and offer a local support system for things like traveling to and from school, preparing for a different weather pattern, storing items over the summer, and more.

College orientation is an exciting event held over the summer before school starts in the fall. Enjoy every moment and attend everything surrounding the event. This will help you prepare for the big move in August.

Thanks for stopping by, and congrats to your child on their new adventure!



Tips for parents with kids going out of state for college

tips for parents with kids going out of state for college

It is that time of year when high school seniors make their final decision about which college they plan to commit to. Many kids plan to commit to an out of state school, which you will see me refer to as “OOS.” When your child decides to attend an OOS school, the anxiety you feel as a parent may increase tenfold. Not only is your child leaving home to go to college, they are crossing state lines! In fact, they could be going all the way across the country from the west coast to the east coast, or vise versa. That is a huge move and life change!

There are many reasons a student decides to go to an OOS school. One of the big reasons is the school has a strong reputation in your child’s intended major. This is the reason my daughter ended up out of state. The major she chose was sparse in California, so she found an amazing program out of state, and off she went to the opposite coast!

This is an exciting time for a student who is going off to college. On the other hand, as the parent, you might be hiding from your child how nervous and anxious this whole process is making you feel. After all, your baby is crossing state lines, and you will need to hop on a plane to visit them! Yikes!

As a parent with a child who attends college OOS, let me tell you, it gets easier. The summer before she left for school I was anxious and had a fear of the unknown. We made sure she was well-prepared and had everything she would need for the school year in both her suitcases and the boxes we shipped to her from home. The big thing is making sure your child has what they need, such as bedsheets, laundry detergent, school supplies, and clothing for various types of weather. While the school will provide a packing list, there are always more items you will need to add depending on your child, the climate, and how far away they will be from home.

My husband flew with my daughter to check her into the dorms before school started. When you are coming from out of state, it is a good idea to check into the dorms as early as possible. This allows you time to shop for items you couldn’t ship, or forgot to pack. This also allows you the chance to make sure your child adapts to the new time zone, and is able to get familiar with their surroundings at the new school. We were able to check our daughter in five days early, which was perfect for helping her get settled in her dorm room.

The whole time my husband was with my daughter, getting her settled at school, I was anxious and nervous. My baby was a plane ride away, out of state! Aaaaah! This is a normal feeling that many share when their child goes OOS for school. If your child is going OOS, you may already feel this apprehension. Thankfully there are ways to overcome the anxious and nervous feelings you may be having about your child going OOS for school.

Here are a few tips to calm your nerves. Also, keep in mind, you feel a thousand times better after the first semester is complete, and you get accustomed to your child flying home alone, and being in a different time zone. As they say, time heals!

  • Get a copy of your child’s class schedule. If they are in a different time zone, this will help you know when it is safe to contact them.
  • Don’t contact your child all day, everyday. Let them spread their wings. Chances are, your child will reach out to you with questions, or to ask you to buy something, or send money. If you miss your child and want to chat, try to text them in the evening when they are back in their dorm room. The daily schedule of a college student is busy, and you don’t want to interrupt them unless you have an emergency.
  • Send care packages. Is there are holiday they won’t be home for such as Valentine’s Day or St Pat’s Day? Send a small box with holiday themed chocolates or items to give your child a little bit of love from home. This will also make you feel good.
  • Schedule a facetime or zoom. Technology nowadays allows for us to see each other’s faces when we chat with them, might as well take advantage of it! A weekly call with your student and family members can keep you close and connected, and help calm your anxiety about your student being OOS.
  • Visit your child during Parents Weekend. I know there are differing opinions about attending Parents Weekend, but I feel like it is a great time to visit your child. The school has events planned for parents and you can connect with your child’s school. This helps to make the school feel closer to home, and gives you an excuse to visit your child.
  • Teach your child to fly on their own before they leave for school. You don’t want your child panicking at the airport because all of their liquids are getting confiscated at TSA. Fly with your child before they leave for college and teach them the rules of going through TSA, what they can put in their suitcase, and what is acceptable for the carry-on. Also make sure you help your child book flights with longer layovers. If your child has a 45 min layover and there is a delay in the first flight, this will cause both of you anxiety. Give your child a long layover so they can fly home, or back to school, in a relaxed state.
  • Driving: You might be wondering about your child’s driver’s license or insurance, there are different options, but I will let you know what we did. Your child can keep their license from home. Unless they plan to move to the new state full-time, and bring their car, they don’t need to switch the state in which they are licensed to drive. Also, if the car is staying home, call your insurance. Ours let’s us toggle our daughter off the insurance while she is away at school, and then toggle her back on when she is home for vacation. This is a money saver! Love that!
  • Connect with other out of state parents from home, and from your child’s new school. There are Facebook groups for parents, as well as regional parents. This helps you ask questions, and learn from, local parents with kids at the same college as your child. It is a great way to connect and ease your nerves!

While having a child go OOS for school can be nerve-wracking, it is a manageable situation that can be a great experience for your child. As long as you stay organized and connected to your child, it will feel like they are down the street.

Travel items your child might need:

Let me know if you have any tips to add!

Thanks for stopping by!

Congrats to your child!