Taking my son to college, anything I should know?

Well, as amazing at it seems to me, my son will be attending Virginia Tech, and we are taking him down on Saturday. Also amazing to me, I’m pretty terrified. It’s literally dropping him off in a small city of 35,000 and saying “Good Luck! Hope you make it!”

Parents who sent their first off to college, any tips for me? Anything I should watch out for? Hopefully things separate from Covid, since I’m astutely aware of that.

(I’ll probably post this same thing next year when my daughter heads off to college)

Anything you should know?

You should know that he’ll make it.

You should watch the opening scenes of Revenge of the Nerds.

To misquote Sheriff Brody, “You’re gonna need a bigger car…!”

To start with, you might need one of these. Then you pack the warm gear, the cold gear, the shorts, the jeans, the underwear, the socks, the bedlinens (more than one) the quilts. The boots/shoes you can’t compress, nor all the desk reference stuff and audio/gaming gear. Plan on it taking easily 2 days to get all the stuff in ( They are 18. YOU are not. ). Don’t haul furniture; buy/rent stuff there. Get yourself a room in a comfy hotel because as God is my Witness… at the end of the day, you will have Earned a soft bed.

Give your goodbyes at a breakfast spot the next day and then take him/her back to their dorm.

“…and then… you go home…” - Kerim Bey, “From Russia With Love”

Find out the orientation and move-in schedule. Some schools have students move into dorms only on a specific time / date while others are more flexible. My son’s school was quite regimented. He was assigned a Sunday 8:30 AM move-in time; one roommate was scheduled to move in at 10 AM and the 3rd at 11:30. My daughter, on the other hand, could move in any time on either of 2 days.

Upperclassmen should be available to help to show new students where to go, what stairways/elevators to use etc

Many schools offer free breakfasts or snacks, welcome receptions with the President or Deans, giveaway items like sunglasses, notebooks, laundry bags.

It can be a fun transition so enjoy!

And these IKEA bags are very practical: FRAKTA Storage bag for cart, blue, 28 ¾x13 ¾x11 ¾"20 gallon - IKEA

When we get parents checking in who tell me “we’re just here to move our kid into the dorm!” I congratulate them then ask if their job is to haul out a camp chair, open an ice cold coke and direct the unpacking. Moms immediately brighten up and say YES! The college-bound kids invariably glare at me.

So, haul that camp chair and ice cold soda with you and you’re all set.

Yep, ours is Saturday at 5 PM.

If by “soda” you mean “beer” then I can handle that :slight_smile:

yeah, i have a 2 night stay reserved, thanks!

I like the way you think! Although, as a role model, you might want to consider a insulation wrap around that can just to keep the powers that be from getting too bent out of shape (or other parents that haven’t considered that dancing, drinking and fornication might be part of the extra-curricular activities their little precious snowflakes might want to participate in).

Be prepared to go to Target or somesuch and flaming out your credit card with all the little things that were overlooked. Maybe buy a little dorm sized fridge and take it with you for the move in.

No drama goodbyes in public.

Is there a Delta Tau Chi Fraternity on campus? :sunglasses: :wink: :heart_eyes: :nerd_face:

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) - IMDb


When wife and I dropped our firstborn at college, after spending all day driving, hauling, lifting, and assembling, we finally got it all done. Evening time now. We say our goodbyes in the parking lot and get into the car.

As we are driving away my thoughts are primarily of the relief I feel that the work is done. I say something like, “glad that’s all over with”. In response I receive sobbing and gasping that lasts several minutes.

Be prepared for the emotional component of it all, if not from you, from your SO.


Advice to me from family members before I started college:
Older brother: If you are going to drink, drink good stuff.
Older sister: When you get to college, don’t try cocaine.
Mother: Remember that birth control is not only the responsibility of the woman.

All good advice for an incoming college freshman.

I did cocaine in college once and enjoyed it so much I swore to never go back. And didn’t.

Living in San Antonio, TX, the child going to school in Queens, NY, my ex-wife and I merely drove Sophia to the airport and dropped her off so she could catch her flight. We didn’t go to the school - it being August 2020, no parents were allowed in the dorm rooms anyway - our major contribution was in getting our daughter an Uber from LA Guardia to St Johns University. 2 weeks in quarantine, another week+ before classes started, Sophia largely set herself up w/o our assistance (other than financial, which wasn’t much - she is very frugal.)

I really don’t have any advice as our situation was so different than yours.

Times have changed. I packed a couple bags and drove off to college on my own. (a place 8 hours away I had never even visited before).

My roommate arrived with his parents, I thought that was weird, but they were gone is less than an hour.

But, I think I’m treadshitting unintentionally. What I learned taking a few kids to college. 1.Either my wife or I cried each time. 2. Kids are homesick briefly, let them know that’s normal and will probably pass pretty quickly. 3. I worried less about what was happening when they were far away at school than when they were at home and 10 minutes late. 4. Some kids embrace the experience, some don’t ever really get with the program.

Not a parent, but a professor. Basically, my advice is “drop the kid off, back off, and chill out,” with a side order of “keep in mind that any terrifying things that can happen to college students that you see on the news made the news because they are super-rare.” That said, one place where parents can be usefully involved, if they are fortunate enough to be college-educated themselves and / or otherwise have a good sense of How It All Works, is helping their kid negotiate the bureaucratic stuff – financial aid, reading and making sense of the course catalogue, applying for internships / study abroad / whatever. Yes, they’ll have a faculty advisor who can do some of this, but often students are shy about approaching advisors and asking questions. Especially at a big school like Virginia Tech, it’s easy to get lost, and this is one of the places where first-generation students tend to be at a disadvantage.

When I dropped my daughter off in State College, during our “farewell hug” I asked if she’d do me a huge favor and text me “good night” the first few nights. That turned into a back and forth chat that went on for the first month or so. I think it helped both of us.

Yeah, I do that now because my kids live with their mother. It’s definitely nice.

Just seconding the above advice, and adding that on the off chance that your son is at all interested in linguistics, Celtic Studies, or medieval studies, there are a couple of great professors there.

Honestly, these things are a bit different than when I left for college. Cell phones and facetime make the separation much easier, as the kids don’t have to try and hunt up a payphone, and enough quarters to make a long-distance call. Its not a cut-the-apron-strings moment anymore. Its a gentle loosening.

And please make sure there’s the separation from them. Don’t call and text every two hours. Don’t demand a summary of their day or classes. Let them twist in the wind, and learn to rely on themselves a bit.