This post: “Pizza Solves a Lot of Problems,” and Other College Advice I’m Passing Along to My Teen
That final goodbye at college drop-off is a tough one. We know we’re going to miss our babies terribly and oh… the worry… do we need to even mention that? So many lessons we want to teach, and so much advice we feel compelled to share.
So, before my teen heads off to college in just a few weeks, here’s a little “last minute” mama advice for them to carry in their heart.
“Pizza Solves a Lot of Problems,” and Other College Advice I’m Passing Along to My Teen
Freshman Year is the BEST Year to Embrace Your Inner Nerd
Remember how you felt like everyone was watching and judging you in high school? Well, college is different. No one really notices or gives a hoot what you do. Take full advantage of the freedom… go ahead, wear your Dory t-shirt, your fluffy red slippers that are falling apart (yep, the ones you refused to throw away), and wear your Star Wars sweatshirt proudly. No one cares, trust me.
Ramen Noodles Don’t Have to Be Boring
I know how much you love Ramen Noodles. Chances are they’ll become a staple in your dorm because they’re, easy, quick, cheap, and microwavable. But don’t let ’em get boring. There are tons of ways to spruce up your Ramen IF you switch up the spices. Keep these recipes on hand so your tastebuds don’t get left in the dust. 5 Ramen Recipes You Can Make in Your Dorm
Make Coffee, Don’t Buy It
When we move you into your dorm, I’m going to spring for a cheap Mr. Coffee coffee maker. Use it. Get up 5 minutes early for class and brew your own coffee instead of hitting Starbucks on the way to class. It’s okay to splurge occasionally (I get it, it’s hard to go too long without an Iced White Chocolate Mocha Coffee fix), but those daily trips will literally kill your wallet (wait a minute, I mean MY wallet).
Try Not to Be a Slob
I’m not going to lie… I’ve lost sleep worrying that you’ll end up with a neat freak for a roommate. (If you do, they’re in for a rude awakening). So, I’m asking you to at least try not to be a slob. Don’t throw your clothes on the floor. Don’t leave crumbs everywhere. Wash your sheets (at least) occasionally so your roommate doesn’t come into the room and gasp for air. Even if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for me so I don’t look like I totally failed you.
Juggling Ain’t Easy
College ain’t easy… plain and simple. I won’t be there to whip up your favorite snack, run an errand for you or do your laundry for you when you’re overwhelmed. Life and all its challenges will fall on your shoulders. Keeping up with homework, studying, projects, eating regularly, and squeezing in a social life can be totally exhausting. You’re going to drop more than a few balls trying to juggle all that… expect it. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
One of the best pieces of mom advice I can offer is that you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Your freshman year is basically one BIG learning curve. You’re going to have a few major “Ls,” you’re going to be embarrassed and you’re going to fumble and fall. Everyone does. It comes with the territory. Try to find the courage to laugh at yourself and remember that nobody has it all figured out. (Anyway, sometimes your worst mistakes make the best stories later in life.)
Pizza Solves a Lot of Problems
When you failed a test, missed a class because you overslept, or got into a tiff with your roommate, a cheesy pizza with all the works is the ultimate cure.
Pair the pizza with good friends who can make you laugh it off and it’s a real “win.” It’s funny… in college, coffee keeps you going, friends keep you grounded and pizza keeps life in perspective.
You’re On Your Own, Baby
Brace yourself… there are no safety nets in college. You’ll always have me to lean on and I’ll always be there to listen (even if you call at 2 a.m. because you need to talk to someone who loves you unconditionally) but no one is going to get your butt out of bed in the morning, no one is going to tell you to skip the party and study for that test and no one is going to tell you to clean your dorm room when it becomes a disaster… it’s all on you, babe. It might not be easy at first, but I promise, you’ll get the hang of it.
Someone once told me, “The struggle of freshman year is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while blindfolded but with more caffeine.” Sound about right!
Partying Too Hard Will Catch Up with You… Trust Me
All that freedom is going to feel so good in the beginning. Your dad and I won’t be breathing down your neck for you to come home at a certain time and we won’t be asking you where you are and what time you’ll be home. You might be tempted to go a little crazy and jump into the party scene.
I get it… suddenly, you’ll feel free! But that lifestyle can and will catch up with you and before you know it things will suffer… your grades, your health, your sleep, your motivation. Remember, everything in moderation AND, please, remember why you’re there.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Me You’re Homesick
Most freshmen walk on campus thinking it’s going to be awesome. They’re sure they’ll make tons of friends right off the bat, that they’ll figure everything out quickly, and that the transition won’t be that hard. That’s not always the case. A lot of freshmen get really homesick. Please tell me if that happens to you.
I’ll drive to see you, I’ll hop on a plane to visit, send you lots of care packages with chocolate, and be there to listen. Try not to expect too much from yourself in that first semester or two. It can take a while to find your rhythm.
Choose Friends Wisely… Please
You’ll have your choice of friends – the party crowd, the frat or sorority crowd, the “All I want to do is study,” crowd, the sports crowd, the nerdy but loveable crowd. Just make sure you choose your friends carefully because their actions, behavior, and priorities will seep into your life whether you realize it or not.
Even if you don’t click with other kids right away, it’s okay. Keep being you and you’ll find others who are like-minded. Don’t settle… please.
Always Stuff a Sweatshirt in Your Backpack
Even if it’s a sweltering 90 degrees outside. Those lecture halls can get really chilly (or downright freezing). There’s nothing worse than trying to listen to what the professor is saying and taking notes when you’re shivering like you’re in Antarctica.
You Have to Make it Happen
Talk to the cute girl or guy down the hall, walk up to the group hanging out at Student Union, join a club (or two) right away, talk to other students in class, join a study group… just don’t sit in your dorm room every night and study. You really need to make it happen, hon.
I know, I know… I want you to focus on your classes, but I don’t want you to miss out on the whole college experience. Don’t let those four years fly by without making a few epic memories.
Contraceptives and Condoms
Use them… enough said.
I’m Going to Worry About You… And, Possibly Be Annoying
I’ll be adjusting to this big change in your life just as much as you will. I’m going to worry that you made it back to your dorm safely after a night at the library. I’m going to worry that you’re diving too deep into the party scene. I’m going to worry that you’ll make a mistake you’ll regret or make a rash decision that sounded good at the time.
I’m going to call you, text you, worry about you, pray for you, and track you (if you let me). I’m not trying to hound you, it’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that mama’s worry… A LOT. I’ll try not to be too annoying.
Call Your Mama
Oh, baby, you have no idea how hard this is going to be for me!
I’m dreading how quiet the house is going to be and how empty your bedroom is going to feel.
I’m going to cry myself to sleep at night. I’m going to long for the past (even though I’m excited about your future), I’m going to miss you with every fiber in my being. Please call me. We don’t have to talk long, just a few minutes. I just need to hear your voice so I can keep going.
You are my world.