How to Stay in Touch with College Friends Over the Summer

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

college friends hanging out over the summer

Whether you’re going into your first summer break as a college student or are in graduate school, leaving behind the relationships, you spent all year making can be dramatic. But there are ways to take the sting out of the separation. Here’s how you can stay in touch and maintain your college friendships even with thousands of miles between you.

Get a Group Chat Going

If you haven’t already, you need to get your gang on the same page. Group chats through apps like GroupMe, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. are great ways to stay connected when apart — especially if your inner circle has more than a few people involved. Plus, it keeps everyone in the loop without any hurt feelings.

Don’t like the option of chatting? You could always start a private social media group, like one on Facebook. There, share your summer stories, arrange events, or seek out encouragement. The best part is that these groups can be private so what happens over the summer stays in your summer friendship group.

Do a Vacay Swap

Got the money and the time? Why not spend your summer vacation visiting the homes of your friends? This is a great move if your clique is scattered around the country or living their best life in some exotic place. Take out a map, plan a course, and hit the road. It might be the best vacation you ever take.

Send a Care Package

While we like to think of summer as total relaxation — we all know it’s often not. Summer can be stressful with getting back into the swing of things with parents or having to work full-time to afford rent. Your friend may even be stuck taking courses back at school while you’re back at home. If this is the case, be a good friend and send them a package that shows you care. Include items you love, like your favorite drink or a handmade card, and throw in a note on how awesome they are.

Share a Little Love from Home

Speaking of care packages… don’t forget to throw in some mementos from your summer. You can bond without him or her there by your side when you ship them that awesome candy from the sweet shop by your home or that hat from the baseball game you went to. It’s almost like having them with you, and, if anything, it tells your friend that you’re thinking of them even when you’re hours away.

Keep Your Routines

We know we’re going to miss our TV show marathons or our Netflix nights in. But being apart doesn’t mean we have to give all that up! With Skype, we can keep these routines all summer long. Pick a date that works for your friend(s) and share the TV. Press play at the same time and prepare to enjoy a night together.

If your routine is working out with your buddies, stay accountable by using fitness apps to track your habits. You can compete on who runs the longest or who racks up the most miles on the elliptical.

Get Pumped for the Fall Countdown

Of course, the best way to bond with your college friends is to gear up for the school year. If you’re roomies, start planning your next bedrooms by coordinating decor. If you’re in the same academic programs, work on making your fall schedule lineup so you’ll have plenty of time to hang.  And don’t forget to countdown! It’s only a few more months until you’ll be together again.

How to Find Your Dream Major

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

graduation-advice-post-graduation

If you’re reaching the end of the year with continued anxiety over your chosen major, it might be time to reconsider. Changing your major can seem overwhelming, but you shouldn’t feel undue pressure over it. The truth is that you’re not out of time to change your mind, even if this is your last semester! You don’t want to live the rest of your life wondering, “What if….?”

However, there is a point to be made that everyone experiences some major doubt over the course of their college career. There might be a few rare people who never waiver, but for everyone else, picking a major isn’t an easy decision. If you’re really considering switching, ask yourself these questions before you do anything drastic (or neglect to do anything at all).

What Makes You Happy?

This might seem like the most obvious question out there, but there’s a reason it’s first. Don’t just consider what things you like — which TV shows, theme park rides, sports, bands, whatever. Those are great but think big picture.

Are you fulfilled by pushing yourself to complete the next puzzle? Consider careers in medicine, government, or even air traffic control.

Maybe you want to see new people and visit exciting places. The United States has 270 embassies that need Foreign Service staff. You could be a pilot or teach English abroad.

There are many things that might make you happy, but ultimately you can narrow it down to the next question.

How Can You Best Achieve That Happiness?

This is where reality kicks in. Maybe you like the idea of solving puzzles for a job, but you can’t imagine going to school for seven years to become a doctor. Maybe you do want to travel, but you can’t learn languages to save your life.

That’s okay; it doesn’t mean that you can’t do what makes you happy just because you lack a skill in one area. Instead, focus more on how you can work in a field that interests you. Take personality tests, visit your school’s career counselor, and research thoroughly. There are definitely dozens of jobs in the field that you’ve never heard of.

And if you really can’t find an existing way to do what you want to do, be an entrepreneur! They represent 10 percent of the workforce, and you’ll be in good company. Getting to set your own hours and be your own boss are pretty powerful perks. Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur, but if you’re driven enough to get to this point, chances are that you do.

What Will Get Me There?

The last piece of the puzzle is to consider what path you have to take to get your happiness. Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward. Wanna be an engineer? Get an engineering degree. Wanna be a lawyer? Go pre-law, and get your J.D. afterward. In some cases, you might not love your new major, but remember that it’s getting you to a larger goal.

Sometimes, though, it’s less laid out for you. Most jobs have several related degrees. A lot will just care that you have the relevant experience or even just a minor in the field. Some jobs won’t care at all what your degree is in, just that you have one.

You can take some time to ask yourself all these questions, but don’t let them sit on the backburner for too long. Eventually, you’ll have to make a decision. When you do, look up what classes you need to take and get a plan in place. Years down the road, you’ll be glad that you took the time now.

Planning for The Fall Semester – How to Set Yourself Up for Success

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

College Campus on a Sunny Fall Day

You probably think we’re crazy for thinking of the Fall semester this early in the year but being prepared for the next term is never a bad thing. In fact, we think getting yourself set up now is the best way to success. Want to know how we’re getting it done? Here are our top 7 to-do items for planning for the fall semester.

See an Advisor Before Registering

The biggest mistake most college students make is not checking in with an advisor before selecting courses. Why is this so costly? Well, your advisor is the one who can make sure you’re on track to graduate, review your course history, and advise you on which classes meet your goals. Without them, you could make some costly and timely mistakes that will derail your Fall semester.

Register On Schedule

In college, you won’t be reminded to do something a hundred times. It’s up to you stay on schedule and remember important deadlines. The one you def don’t want to forget is when registration is open to you. For larger schools, missing your priority registration period could mean losing out on a seat in a class. For smaller schools, you might get bumped into an undesirable course or with a professor you dislike.

Check Out the Syllabus

Many universities now post their classes syllabi online for prospective students and those looking to register. Having a syllabus in hand can help you better anticipate what’s in store. For example, if a class you want to enroll in has a massive group project due at the end of the term, you may not want to sign up for a club that is going to require a lot of commitment.

College Textbooks

Buy the Books in Advance

Buying early saves you cash on textbooks, especially when you purchase in the late spring or early summer. But you’ll also get to read through the material at your own pace, and that can help you process the information better than late night cram sessions the day before class.

Test Try the Course

If you’re terrified of your Calc class or aren’t sure if you’ll dig Art History, why not try it out now? Colleges often have free access to online courses through services like Udemy or Coursera. With no commitment necessary, you can sign in to browse the modules or watch a lecture. You’ll feel more confident in the courses you’re signing up for, and you may just get ahead on the learning objectives.

Review Your Mistakes

Every school year requires a day of reflection where you think back on everything that went right and went wrong. Make a column for each and jot down everything you can imagine. Grab your grades and review. Do you see patterns? Were you stressed out in the winter near the holidays? Did you skip a ton of classes after your breakup? By laying it out there, you can pinpoint where your strengths and weaknesses are and then improve on it next Fall.

Organized School Supplies

Get Organized Early

When we’re school shopping, we often forget the little (but super important) details like extra flash cards or post-it notes. Make a pretend shopping list now of the things you use the most. Then, start stockpiling. You can get great deals on 2018-2019 planners, for example. And school supplies are always cheapest the further out from the Fall you buy them!

With plenty of time left to get organized, review over your mistakes, and preview your courses, you can guarantee a win come your Fall semester!

How to Actually Fundraise in College

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

You’re hopefully back in the swing of classes, although summer vacation could not come soon enough. But it’s far from time to check out. If you’re intent on building your resume, you’re working hard at your classes as well as some extracurricular activities. But one of the hardest parts of staying active in clubs and groups throughout college is the constant pressure to fundraise.

College students aren’t exactly known for their expendable income, since paying for school itself is often a struggle. So you and your group members might not have enough to donate yourselves. Instead, you’ll have to get other people to part with their money, so you can keep playing lacrosse, raising awareness about local policy, educating disadvantaged kids, or whatever else you think will help you later on. Question is, how can you best fundraise in a college town?

Know Your Target

Ask yourself: who is most likely to support your cause?

Students might have little cash to spare, but they also probably have more school spirit than anyone else nearby. If you want to target students, you’ll have to give them some sort of tangible return for their support. Some kids might be willing to part with a couple extra bucks for nothing but a fuzzy feeling, but most college kids will respond best to food. Popcorn, pizza, or anything that you can make it bulk cheap is a good way to go here.

However, if you’re looking to solicit community involvement as well, then you might need to up the stakes. Adults in the community might feel a certain sense of pride about the school, but they’re less impressed by dollar pizza slices than your average sophomore. Consider their political leanings; if you’ve got a lot of concerned environmentalists in your town, try a green fundraiser. If there is a strong arts presence, consider classing up your fundraising.

Quantity or Quality?

When considering your fundraising scheme, consider if you’re aiming for quantity or quality. Are you trying to get a lot of little donations or several larger ones? The latter will require more effort on your part, but the payout for your organization could be great.

Here are a few “quantity” based ideas:

  • Have a bake sale. Consider some easy recipes like pancakes, cookies, or hot cocoa!
  • Create a GoFundMe account. This is a great way to get people from even outside your community to donate, like faraway relatives, but don’t rely too heavily on this one option.
  • Ask your school if you can sell concessions at upcoming games.

And a few “quality” ideas as well:

  • Ask a local business for support. Even if you can’t secure a one-time donation, you might be able to convince them to donate a percentage of their sales as long as it’s a worthy cause. Lots of business do just that to help fundraise for pets, world hunger, and literacy programs. Your club can do that too!
  • Hold a dance! Social events are always appreciated on campuses. You can go for casual or formal, but college kids rarely get the chance to dress up, so you might have an easier time with formal.
  • Offer your services to the community. As a group, all go rake someone’s leaves, mow their lawns, fix their plumbing, whatever it may be. With so many of you, the job can get done in a few hours max.

These ideas will vary depending on your fundraising goals and how many people you have involved, but they’re a good place to start.

Consider Teaming Up

On college campuses, there are a lot of involved young people. Many are trying to make a significant change in their community, and there is no reason you both can’t help each other out.

If you’re part of a gender-divided sports team, consider asking the other side if they want to team up. If you’re an environmental group, there’s probably another one on campus that could use some money as well. Greek houses are always trying to fundraise, so make sure to pick their brains! They’ve got to be experts by now. Sometimes, two minds are better than one.

Of course, the returns on this strategy diminish the bigger the other group is. If they help out a lot, the other group might want more of the money than you’re prepared to give up. But you shouldn’t dismiss this option right away; give it some serious thought.

Fundraising is always a surprise, especially in a place as unpredictable as a college campus. You never know who is going to feel school-spirited or giving that day. The best you can do is approach this problem as a unit and commit to putting your all in it. Because if you’re not going to fight for your club, who is?

Tips to Stay Healthy This Semester

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Getting back into the groove of school can be challenging after winter break. You just spent a few weeks kicking back, enjoying the holidays, hanging out with friends without a care in the world. You’ve conquered finals! Nothing to worry about until new classes start! You earned a bit of relaxation.

Except now that break is over, you’re back in the real world: back to hectic schedules, walking across campus, and constantly braving the cold. The average undergrad student spends about 3 hours getting ready and walking to and from class. There’s hardly any time to focus on school work, let alone think about staying healthy — and I’m not talking about hitting the rec center.

We all get sick this time of year, but there’s a reason that college campuses get hit particularly hard. Freshmen, in particular, are vulnerable. It wouldn’t have been that bad to get sick over break — but now, just when you’re starting to get back into the swing of things? A bad cold can make it difficult to study, and bad flu can set you back a few weeks. How can you stay healthy this semester?

What Everyone Knows But Doesn’t Do

Stop it before it even starts … Diseases spread more during winter months because everyone holes up indoors. That means that all those communal surfaces have more germs than you’d think. The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. In order to prevent getting sick, follow some common sense advice!

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, regularly. If you live somewhere with cold, dry air, make sure to moisturize afterward.
  • Carry hand sanitizer for sticky situations. Many schools will give small containers out for free, so be on the lookout at career fairs and the like!
  • Don’t share straws, silverware, or pencils that have clearly been chewed on.
  • Don’t touch your mouth or face after spending time in class, the library, or any high-traffic area.
  • Get a flu shot. Most colleges offer these for free! Since this year’s flu season is going to be particularly bad, make sure you get yours.

Yeah, you might know all this already. This is just a friendly reminder to actually follow the advice this year.

Advanced Advice

Alright, those are the basics, but what else can you do to prevent from getting sick? Well, there are a couple of habits that make college students particularly vulnerable.

Are you getting enough sleep? And, no, in class doesn’t count. You probably need around 8 hours a night. That might sound like a dream, but without proper sleep your immune system is vulnerable. If you just can’t make it to 8 hours during the night, though, don’t be ashamed to take a nap. Better you lose a few hours of studying than a few days of class.

Naps can also lower your stress level, which is hugely helpful towards maintaining a healthy immune system. Make sure you are taking time to relax. Too many college students are too busy multitasking and resume-building that they work themselves to bed.

Be aware of your surroundings. This is one of the hardest things to monitor but by far the most helpful. Many college dorms are cramped spaces filled with as many people as possible. This is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to spread. If your roommate says they are not feeling well, stock up on antibacterial wipes and vitamin C!

Know When to Get Help

Too many college kids are so worried about saving money that they spread disease and get worse when they should’ve gone to the doctor. Your college probably has a clinic on campus, and they will work with you to cut down on the cost! There’s no reason you should continue to languish in misery when there are medications and treatments to help you get back on your feet.

If you’ve been sick for more than a couple days, consider that you might have something more serious. That sore throat might be strep — the differences between the flu and pneumonia aren’t as obvious as you’d think — and having a fever for multiple days is a definitely a cause for concern. If you’re worried that this could be something more, go to the doctor and encourage friends to do the same.

Staying healthy in college is more challenging than most people think. Between classes, work, and juggling a social life, you’re stressed enough as it is. This is just one more thing to think about. However, if you’re health lags behind, you can’t really juggle anything else. Staying in tip-top shape needs to be a priority this winter. So bundle up and use your head!

What to Do If You Aren’t In Love With Your Major

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Stack of textbooks and apple

When you started freshman year, you were sure you wanted to study business. But now you’re in your program and you’re starting to feel restless. This path doesn’t seem right anymore, and your classes are either too challenging or too boring. Does this sound familiar? Realizing that you’re no longer in love with your choice of major can be shocking. But there are a lot of things you can do to help make up your mind on if you should switch or not. Here’s how to get started.

Give It Time

Stress gets the best of any of us. Coursework, activities, exams, family, friends — it can be a lot to deal with when you’re in college. And that feeling of dread or restlessness can be projected on other things in your life. In some cases, that may be your major.

If it’s been a tough semester or you’ve got a lot going on, you may not want to rush to make any changes to your major. Wait until your feelings pass, you take that exam, or you get that apology from your BFF. You may find that you feel more secure about your future when you have a clearer head.

Meet With Your Advisor

Discussing potentially switching majors with your friends or classmates is a start, but it shouldn’t be the only place you go. Your advisor is your best bet. He or she can discuss your academic performance, the requirements of your current program, and alternative majors you may have in mind. Really, they are a one-stop-shop for all things majors!

Be sure to schedule your academic advising appointment ahead of any registration period as their hours fill up quickly. And if you’re talking about a whole change, of course, you’ll want to have time to review the new major’s requirements and see how it fits in with your current schedule and if it will impact graduation time.

See Into the Future

If you’re more worried about your career prospects when you graduate, skip the advisor and talk to your university’s career center. They don’t only do resume reviews. They also provide counseling for those unsure of what their major can do for them. With loads of resources and research, they know what is out there in terms of job prospects.

They can also help you discover where your talents are and if you’re in the right fitting major for your interests. Ask for a career assessment or a personality exam like Meyers-Briggs. The professional staff can review your results and give you feedback on both your characteristics and what makes you tick.

Mix It Up

If you’re seriously considering changing majors, why not try your new choice out first? Next semester, enroll in one of the required courses to see how it feels. It might turn out that you have the same feelings as you do about your current major. On the other hand, it might be the breath of fresh air you need to feel better about your choices.

Another benefit of taking courses outside your current major is that you might find that you miss it. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and seeing your old major from a new angle may show you that the grass isn’t always greener. Falling out of love with your major can be tough, but by giving your decision time, help, and professional advice, you can make the decision that is right for your future.

Read This if You’re Having a Hard Time Making Friends in College

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Group of girls walking together on an adventure

You’ve made it halfway through the semester, so it probably seems like friend groups have already been established. But if you’re not feeling the love, don’t worry! Making new friends in college can be tough — much harder than in elementary or even high school. It’s totally normal to feel left out or alone when you’re at a new school. If you’re having a hard time making friends in college, we’ve got advice for you to help you establish a new friend group and build some great relationships.

Open Your Doors

One of the coolest parts of college is that, at most schools, dorms encourage an ‘open doors’ atmosphere. In other words, leave your dorm room door open and decorate. Dress up your room, get a cool focal feature, do something neat and fun with your door… whatever you can think of to draw attention to your space. The more open you are, the more likely friends will come to you!

Two friends after their climb

Join the Club

If you don’t want to be isolated, get involved! Find a club that interests you and fits your schedule. Don’t see anything that’s at your level? Look into forming your own group! It could be tabletop gaming or a group to travel into the city and watch plays. Think of what you love and what you want your friends to want to love too and go from there.

If it’s too hard to form an official club, you can always use Facebook events. Advertise around campus and invite your fellow students to join your group. Once in, start some events and see what happens. Even if only one person comes, it’s a win!

Volunteer Your Friend Time

If you’ve got a big heart, you’ll probably want to hang with like, loving minds. Volunteering for causes you care about is a great way to get out there and introduce yourself to new people. From walking dogs at an animal shelter to packaging goods for the holidays, there are endless opportunities for college students to get together, do some good, and build friendships.

Bond Over Food

For introverts, this may be the hardest piece of advice, but sometimes making friends starts with you initiating it. But it doesn’t have to be the terrifying, “Hey! Let’s be friends!” convo. Instead, it could be a simple, “I’m hungry. Are you heading to the cafeteria? If so, can I tag along?” If you’ve got the cash, you can also ask to buy a person a coffee in exchange for help with a difficult class or to talk a professor that’s annoying you. Food is an instant bonder.

Team meeting for group project with coffee

Embrace Group Projects

Is there anything worse than group projects? Probably not. But instead of groaning and whining, look at group work as an opportunity to open yourself up to others. It starts with being a great partner by pulling your weight, making time for the assignment, and listening to other’s opinions. Afterwards, you can all go out and celebrate being done with shared assignments.

Be Yourself Every Day

When you’re not great at putting yourself out there, it can be tempting to want to change your look or personality. But that’s a mistake. Who you are inside is who you should be embracing. People who can’t see how wonderful and great you are are missing out — not you. Continue to be out there, open to new experiences, and positive and the right friends will find you.

College can also be a time to redefine yourself. If you’re nervous or scared in social situations, it is okay. Chances are that many of the people there are as well. Once you are able to do it the first time, it will feel amazing and you will want to continue putting yourself out there. Soon, you will be the talk of the dorm halls!

The Nine Things Every College Student Should Have On Their Desk

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Female student taking notes from a book at library.

All you need is a computer, right? Wrong! Unlike high school or living with your parents, office supplies do not magically appear. Living on your own means stocking up on essential desk items. To make your shopping list easier, we’ve come up with nine things every college student should have on their desk in order to get through the rest of the semester.

     1. Stapler and Staples

Here’s a lesson all freshman learn real fast — your teacher will not have a stapler on them, and they will expect you to turn in stapled copies of your twenty-page paper! Come prepared by having a stapler and extra staples at your deskside whenever you need it.

     2. Printer, Paper, and Ink

Sure, you could print at the library, but that’s going to cost you, and there’s no guarantee the library will be open when you need it. A small-sized printer can run you around $30 on sale and ink can be cheap if you subscribe to regular refills.

     3. Pen and Pencils

We love the convenience of a computer, but you have to have a pen on you at all times. There’s no telling when you’ll want to make a quick note or write a letter yourself. And pencils are essential for majors that require a lot of drafting or revisiting of work — such as musicians, artists, engineers, mathematicians, architects, etc.

4. Paperclips

Like staples, you need to keep your paper in order or they’ll become a mess on your desk. And who wants that? With paperclips or larger file clips, attach and go. No fuss, reusable, and cheap to buy — you have no excuses not to have a small supply.

Planner with post it notes and highlighters

5. Sticky Notes or Journals

Sticky notes are great for telling your roommate to pick up more milk or that they need to clean their side of the room. But when you really want to get something out, a journal is a must-have. Check out these school-themed journals if you really want to impress.

6. Stamps and Stationery

Sending a letter may seem so old fashioned, but thank yous written by hand are impressive and classy. Grab a stack of cards, like these vintage university ones, for when the occasion arises. And don’t forget Forever stamps from the post office.

7. Organizer

You’ve got the little things down, but what about where to put it all? An organizer for the tiny desk objects that get all over the place can be a lifesaver — especially when you’ve got five minutes till class starts and you can’t find your favorite pen.

desk lamp illuminating

8. Desk Lamp

Your desk may come with a lamp attachment already, but those industrial bulbs can lead to migraines or poor study habits. Find one that matches your style and has the right kind of light for your work. This dimmable, portable one is the perfect size and look for most college students’ needs.

9. Power Cord

While technically for under the desk, a safe power cord that can support your laptop, printer, chargers, and a lamp cannot be forgotten. Get one that has a surge protector in case of electricity going out.

If you have these nine items, and a few more that we may have missed, you’ll be ready to tackle those study sessions and ace all your exams!

Move-In Checklist for Girls

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

College Checklist for Girls

 

College may seem far off in the distance, but the reality is there’s only one year left. That means it’s time to start talking dorm rooms. And of course, figuring out your style and making sure you have the essentials ready to go is an absolute must. This OCM shopping list is the only one you’ll need. Here’s a breakdown of everything that’s on the move-in checklist for girls.

Bedding

Truth be told, dorm beds are kind of miserable no matter where you go to school. It’s almost universal that you’ll need a few things to make your sleeping space comfy. The first is the right kind of bedding. Extra-long sheets, comforter/quilt, and pillows are the basics. But also consider investing in a great mattress pad if you’re worried about a bad back or a thin mattress.

Bath

Communal bathrooms can be intimidating, but they’re a breeze once you’ve got the right gear. Of course, you’ll want your beauty products and favorite shampoos and soaps. We say splurge and get the best to make your shower experience more luxurious. What you really need is a pair or two of flip flops, a shower caddy to carry it all in, and a set of durable towels.

Home Essentials

Colleges do not give their students cleaning services for their rooms — you’re in charge of that. This means you need to stock up on cleaning supplies and gear. Broom or a sweeper are great to have handy, as well as paper towels and some basic sanitizing wipes.

Out of Sight

Small spaces means getting creative with your storage. Under the bed boxes are crucial, as are closet organizers that hang on the door. Trunks are great for being decor, seating, and storage, but you can also consider ottomans with storage built in as an option.

Dorm Cooking

Believe it or not, but you can cook when you’re living in the dorms. Most come with a small, communal kitchenette, and you’ll want a fridge and/or microwave for yourself. That means you’ll also need a few basics — pot, pan, mixing and measuring bowls, containers, mugs, plates, silverware, etc.

Desk Supplies

Keep yourself organized with everything you need — staplers, paperclips, pens, and pencils, together in a sturdy box or desk organizer. You may also want to invest in the must-haves of studying, like highlighters, notecards, notebooks, and other portable items you can take to and from class and study sessions.

Technology

A laptop or at least a tablet with a portable keyboard should be at the top of your list; it’s an essential in the digital age. But don’t miss out on other essentials like a personal printer, a surge protector, extra batteries, and a carrying case. A TV in your dorm is also a great addition that will let you have movie nights or just “veg,” and a pair of noise-canceling headphones will keep you sane if you get a roommate who snores.

Decorating

Now this category is where you can have some fun! Mix in some touches from home (like a favorite throw pillow or a picture of your BFFs) and add in some new, adult items like a potted plant or a gorgeous vintage mirror. The trick is to come up with a theme or particular style and work with it until it feels like home.  

Extra Essentials

Some things don’t fit into categories but are totally necessary. We’re thinking of first aid kits, umbrellas, lockboxes, and other frequently used items. Think about what you use around your house and add it to this category. You may be surprised what you need — and what you can leave behind.

Parents Corner- How Often You Should Check-In

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

College Student stressed over textbook

Sending your child off to college can be an emotional time for everyone involved. As a parent, it can be especially hard to get into a routine of not having the student around. Setting boundaries and establishing rituals is important in maintaining healthy relationships with college-aged kids. Here’s how you can determine how often you should check in based on your student’s personality or situation.

The Homesickness Factor

One of the most normal phases of freshman year is going through some periods of homesickness. Even the toughest, adventurous, or independent students may go through this when first moving into dorms. Being in a stressful environment or having a lack of familial support only exaggerates it.

If your child is showing signs of homesickness, it may be tempting to increase your contact or encourage them to come home. However, it can harm the student if you tell them that you miss them, increase your phone calls, or pressure them to visit in order to feel better. Instead, ease back, encourage them to get out, and praise them when they find something new to love about living on their own. Set up weekly calls instead of nightly, and help them book one trip home soon so they have something to look forward to.

The Close-to-Homebody

When we think of living on campus, we think of living more than a few hours away from home. Today, however, many students choose to live in dorms not far from where they grew up which can make it hard to determine how often parents should initiate calls or visits.

For homebodies who frequently visit, making calls short and to-the-point will help establish boundaries. You want the student to be independent (and do their own laundry), so over communicating can make them feel like they’ve never left. And it can encourage them to treat dorm life like they are commuting instead of living on their own.

The Long-Distance Students

One of the trickier parent-student situations is when a child decides to live on campus hours away from parents. In this case, it can be terrifying to ease back and let a student be on their own without checking in often.

In this case, it’s important to be honest and have a conversation early on what your student wants and what you expect in terms of them reaching out to you. Depending on your situation (such as if you’re paying their tuition or not), you may be able to call the shots. But as parents of adults, it’s important to remember that your student may not be on board with daily phone calls and video chats. Instead, ask them what they feel is appropriate and find common ground. Same goes for visits.

The Solo Student 

A student who goes dark can be scary for parents. When you don’t know what they are doing or how they are feeling, it can be difficult to adjust to the new norm. But in many cases, a student wanting space is demonstrating to themselves and you that they are setting boundaries.

Using the same advice for long distance students, open the conversation. Ask them how much is too much when it comes to calls or texts. Ask if they prefer one way of getting a hold of them over the other. Suggest a code word for emergencies or a set day to have a check-in chat. They’ll love that you are respecting their wishes and you’ll feel better having a set routine to follow.