Life After Move-In Day

Or, “Where did I put the Kleenex?!”

If you’re reading this, you survived (or are surviving) move-in day with your new college student. We hope these tips and suggestions from parents who traveled this road before you ease your journey.

If you’re still on campus…

  • Remember with all move-in activities to let your student lead the way. Ask your student what you can do to help unpack. They may be happy to have you make the bed, but don’t insist on this, or anything. It’s their space.
  • However, do take a photo or two of your student in their room or in front of the residence hall.
  • Make a list of stuff your student forgot and may need, but don’t stress about this. Pretty much anything can be ordered online, or they can walk into town with a roommate or new friend to check out the local shops.
  • If you intend to stay in the area for a few days after move-in, make sure you are doing this for yourself and not to linger near your student “just in case.” If they feel lonely and know you’re nearby, they may want to be with you rather than engage in the welcome activities on campus.
  • When it’s time to leave — schools typically build this into the move-in day schedule — leave. But first, take a long loving look at your student’s face. Make the hug as long as you darn please.

Be kind to yourself

  • If you’re not ready to drive off, take a walk around campus or in town. Sit with a cup of coffee or tea at a spot that may become one of your student’s favorites.
  • If this is your youngest or only child, everyone agrees it’s wise to take a detour on the way home if you can swing it. Spend a few days doing something fun, with or without a spouse or partner. That can make the return to an empty nest less of a jolt.
  • Did you fly out with your student and are now flying home solo? Pick the right book for the plane ride (humor is good) and ask a friend to meet you at the airport.
  • When you get home and see your student’s old high school track sweatshirt hanging on the coat rack, you will burst into tears (says one mom from Colorado). Accept all the ways you feel right now — sad and possibly worried, but also thankful, proud and relieved (not to mention exhausted).

Your student’s college life has begun…and you’re starting an exciting new chapter, too. There’s much to look forward to: More time for work, travel, other family members; a chance to refresh your social life or exercise routine; and visiting your student for Family Weekend!


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