Monday, March 31, 2014

Freshman Send Off

Tonight we hosted the Freshman Send Off Party for my alma mater,Stanford. What a kick!
I just love meeting these kids that are about to embark on their college years. They are so enthusiastic; excited about what's coming; yet apprehensive.
It takes me back. I remember being put on the airplane at JFK, my parents waving goodbye and I was scared to death. I wasn't going to see them until Christmas, 3000 miles away! No one brought me to college, helped me unpack, took me shopping for plastic bins to store sweatshirts under the bed...truth be known, I called home week 2, begging my Mom to let me come home and go to school nearby. I was soooo homesick. My mother's comment, "we've made a commitment and in this family we stick to them, so buck up. If you feel the same way come June we'll talk about it, but until then, make the most of it. Love you. Good bye."  Ouch. I don't think I called home nor wrote a letter for two weeks, maybe three, I was so mad and I couldn't believe the answer was "no." Well, best thing that ever happened. Now I am totally Ray-Rah (have been for years)!
Fast forward...our youngest is headed into his junior year, then a son soon to be a senior and two kids all graduated. What was great about tonight was the sharing of ideas and answering questions by kids already at Stanford, alumni and by family members that had been to college (it didn't matter which college)...the soon to be freshman were eagerly listening, asking more and more questions as the evening wore on and they grew more comfortable. This was a "safe place." A small intimate group, no judgements and happy to provide answers or suggestions that might be helpful.
Some of the questions and answers:
How do I get all of my stuff across country?
  1. Pack everything into two giant duffle bags. Not the ones with rollers, those are tough to store, take up too much room and make the load too heavy and you'll be charged.
  2. Less is more. So if you're from the east coast and you're headed to California for college, no snow gear! More shorts.
  3. Leave the good bike at home and buy a clunker or an inexpensive bike when you get there. Order on online from Target or Walmart and pick it up when you get there. Much cheaper than shipping. My son's had TWO bikes stolen! Was he bummed! Now he's on foot.
  4. Carry your electronics on your back (backpack). Just in case.
  5. If you have to ship, it's worth shopping around: this site may help:
                       Do I leave the polos behind?
1. Bring one or two, "but those are for dinners out when the parents come to visit or church." People wear T shirts.
Parent: Is it a problem that I'm not going out with my kid right away? Should I go later this fall or wait until spring?
  1. Not a problem if you don't go, (but know that an awful lot of us parents of Gen Y DO go) but that's a good thing because your GenYer can ask the roommate's Mom if they can go along for the Target run.
  2. Think about going for Parents' Weekend. Stanford's is in February, but most schools have theirs in October.
For the most part, the kids shared their dorm assignments, talked about the class Facebook page and how they check it multiple times a day, the readings that have been assigned and how much they've actually gotten read or plan to read. Why they chose Stanford over X,Y, or Z...
It was a really nice evening! 
If you haven't read this NYTimes' article, (Students, Welcome to College, Parents Go Home) it's worth a read by parents of freshmen.
sidebar:  A girlfriend of mine said: "The one thing that irritates me about colleges actually having a plan on how to get us parents to leave, is that there is a room full of people our age, with kids our age, talking about us for a year, planning on how to get rid of us!"    :)      I smiled.

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