Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Packing for college

"We need a what?" my husband calls from the kitchen.

"A pillow and a blanket. And towels; they are only providing the linens," I answer.

We are packing for our son's college orientation--but not packing for our son.  Frugality won over convenience when my husband learned that we could stay in the dorms for a fraction of what the local hotel would charge.  Not the same dorm as the incoming freshmen, of course.  We will be in the Honors Hall, in separate rooms with single twin beds, sharing a bathroom.

This is a much different experience than our firstborn's college entrance.  At her tiny, private liberal arts college, orientation happened during the last two days of summer.  We attended a few parent sessions and helped her move into her dorm over the course of a weekend, with time to spare.  Our son's orientation starts today with an afternoon check-in; we have events through the evening, and lasts until late Thursday afternoon.  His move-in will happen in August, when we get eight hours to get him settled before being scooted away for his weeklong freshman transition.

I am more excited about this than our son, who is understandably upset about starting off college in a compromised physical state.  Unable to chew for two to three more months, and barely able to open his jaws three weeks into recovery, he worries about the social and academic implications of thick speech and dietary restrictions.  I try to acknowledge his fears and provide solutions, but my efforts have done little to elevate his mood. My hope is that the busy-ness of these three days will alleviate some of those worries, and that the staff will be compassionate and accommodating, as posted reviews have stated.

So off we go to college today, pillows and blankets and towels in hand.  Wish us luck!


  1. I wonder if anyone has written or studied about this right of passage? Historically, it is relatively new, right? I read somewhere that the idea of a teenager really crystallized in the 1950s...and, once high ended, adults and teenagers have each struggled with "what now?" No farm. No work. Ship them off to college! My great uncles and aunts, etc...part of the Greatest Generation...weren't college graduates. They just bucked up and went to work...someplace. (And, of course, went off to war as well). Your slice has my mind active!

    1. It is an interesting transition. On the one hand, it seems an extension of childhood, as many are still being taken care of financially by parents; on the other, they are completely responsible for navigating this new environment on their own. As a first-generation college graduate myself, I was acutely aware of the differences between my parents' transition to adulthood and my own (father joined military, mother worked/ lived at home until she married my father).

  2. As a mother of high school senior, I read this post and think of my future! No doubt, a year from now, your words will resurface as I find myself in the your shoes! Thanks for the insight!

  3. Safe journey (literal & metaphorical ones) hugs, love, and healing. JoAnn

  4. I do wish you luck! My younger son called college orientation "bore-ientation." Lol. I hope your experience is anything but boring. On a more serious note: Courage and healing to your son - having to start college now after such a surgery is a true challenge. I understand it well - my son was assaulted two years ago, had his jaw broken and wired shut for weeks. I've not even been able to write about that yet. Just know that this, too, shall pass. Enjoy your "return" to college!