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To All You Lucky Fs (I Mean Kids) Going Away to College!

College professor teaching a class

Do you know how much fun you are going to have?

Do you know how lucky you are to be able to attend college?

Do you know how jealous I am?

I always get a little nostalgic in the fall when the kids go back to school. It brings back so many memories of the first day of school and that glorious day close to 25 years ago (yikes, it can’t be that long ago; I’m only 30!) that my parents dropped me off for four years of bliss at Marietta College. That day is up there as one of the best days of my life. I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get out of the house and start living on my own.

Over the past few years, this time period has brought a whole new set of feelings, as I have seen my friends and family members send off their kids to both kindergarten and college for the first time. Some are thrilled to be empty nesters again (one of my friends calls the first day of school “Mother’s Day”), but most of them are sad to see their kids go off. It really is a big deal and, I’m sure, a tough adjustment to make.

If you have sent a kid off to college this year, just remember, leaving home is an inevitable part of growing up, and one of the reasons you had kids in the first place was to experience the joy of seeing them grow up and become adults. Don’t worry; they’ll be back for laundry, food, and, hopefully, to thank you for making such an amazing investment in their future!

I remember the day we took my stepdaughter to college. It was sad but also a bit depressing when both my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Damn, I’m jealous. I wish I was the one being dropped off for four years of ‘higher’ education.” Instead, we got four years of frugal living while footing the bill for college, but it was worth it!

I’ve heard a few people say recently that youth is wasted on the young. If we could go back to college knowing what we do today, it would be really cool. I don’t agree with them. Part of what made college so much fun were all the crazy new experiences, getting thrown together in a crappy dorm room with an assigned roommate, being open to all kinds of study, trying funky drink combinations from a trash can, cheap beer, and the stamina to pull off an all-nighter before an exam. How many middle-aged people do you know who can stay up past midnight anymore?

So, to my sister and friends sending kids away to college this year: Hang in there and get ready to enjoy a whole new wonderful phase of your life. To your kids: The best piece of advice I can give is to work hard, play hard. Study hard during the day so you have plenty of time left at night to hang out with friends and party! You’ll learn some pretty important stuff outside of those classrooms.

Let me know if you have sent a kid away to college this year and how you are dealing with it or what your fondest memory of those first few weeks of college is. Mine was meeting all the wonderful women on the second floor of Elsie Newton Hall who became my close friends!

Photo: Harrison Keely

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  • http://www.nibblesnbites.com Scraps

    I got married a year out of high school so college was always non-traditional for me. After my divorce I went back to school and lived with some traditional students off campus. Even though I was still early-to-mid twenties back then, I didn't even want a smidge of the “experiences” my roommates had. What I loved, though, was the knowledge that college (in my case Culinary School) was a delicious opportunity to try new things, ask questions and really make my time (and tuition–I may never be out of debt thanks to the school loan I had to take out–oh, yes, I worked full time, too) worth it without consequences or repercussions.

  • http://www.mariamedia.net Maria @ MariaMedia

    Wow – good for you – taking on the expense of school all on your own! I'm sure that was difficult, but worth it now that you are using your degree to do something you love.

  • http://www.yisforyogini.com Y is for Yogini

    I love a girl who can sling a few f's and damns. Cussers unite! :P

  • http://www.mariamedia.net Maria @ MariaMedia

    Ha Ha! We should unite – the world needs more f-bombers!

  • Eva

    Yes….I took my last one of four off to college two weeks ago. Even thought I thought I had prepared myself for this day long before. Nothing can really prepare you completely for leaving them behind (although you know it's the best for them) & going home to an empty (although clean!!) house. I miss him kissing me goodnight. I miss his friends who were over all the time. I guess in reality I will just miss being a mom. It was fun while it lasted. BUT….It's time to start a new chapter in MY book of life!!