You're an Uncool College Parent If...

  1. #1. You wish your kid responded to your text.
  2. #2. You know they're over 18; and you still care.
  3. Read the rest...

Is Your College Student’s Living Situation Working Out?

Dorm room in a typical college dorm

Now that we are a month or so into the semester – we at UCP are wondering how your college student’s living situation is going? This is usually a major source of anxiety during each year that your child goes off to school. Even if they are friends with their roommate(s) that doesn’t always translate into a good living situation. So many of our kids are used to having their own room, so the idea of sharing a room or a bathroom with other people may be unsettling. Just like learning to share toys in preschool or kindergarten was a growing experience, so is learning to share a living space with a virtual stranger.

So what is your kid’s expectation of their living situation? Your child should keep in mind that you don’t have to be great friends with a person to be great roommates. But, most kids would like to be friends, maybe not best friends, but at least friendly enough to grab a bite or walk to the library. Knowing their roommate ahead of time isn’t a guarantee that it will work out. Living together certainly reveals more about a person than a typical friendship.

As the year progresses, a roommate might reveal certain traits that make living together difficult. Living together takes compromise from both people. Respect is a big part of a successful living arrangement. Your roommate should not touch or borrow your stuff without asking. Your roommate should be quiet when you are trying to sleep or study. Do you expect to study in your room or are you one of those people who studies elsewhere and comes back to the room to relax and blow off steam? Do you want your room to be a gathering place for others or a quiet place of privacy? So many roommate conflicts are just that; lifestyle conflicts. But the bottom line is that your college student’s living space should feel safe, like home.
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The Family Dynamic Has Changed!

So you dropped your oldest child off at college and you are back home for a few weeks or so now. You
may still be a little sad and depressed and looking to feel better. You are still not used to the fact that the dinner table has one less person at it on a regular basis. Now what?

This UCP recommends giving yourself more time to adjust. Don’t think that things will
feel right immediately. But we all adapt and that is a beautiful thing.
Certainly if you have another child at home, go out and enjoy being with them. Chances are they haven’t gotten you all to themselves in a while. You probably didn’t pay much attention to them because you were getting the older one off. Maybe they even were a good sport and helped
you move their older sibling into college, lugging the boxes and enduring orientation. So do something with them that you enjoy together. Go to the park, take in a movie, just have fun!

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Does Sending Your Kids Off To College Get Easier Each Successive Year?

Somebody asked me the other day if it gets easier to say goodbye to your college kids in the fall when they are a sophomore, junior or senior in college. I had to stop for a minute and think.  For me the answer is a qualified, yes.

A lot of the anxiety that I experienced when each of my kids first went to school was tied to my child and the unknowns with respect to each of them. Would they like their roommate? Would they be able to handle the course load? Would they like their courses?  Would they make good friends? How smoothly would move in day go? And the list of this worried parent went on and on.

After freshman year a lot of those issues are no longer applicable. The fact that each of my children has proved that they can indeed handle the college work load, get great grades, make new friends, take care of themselves, makes it easier to send them off to school. The anxiety that I first felt on letting them go has abated.

Another part of my nervousness about sending them away to school had to do with the changing dynamics of our family and me. When my oldest went off I worried about how the house would feel with one less person in it. Would it feel funny to have three of us in the house instead of four? How would it feel around the dinner table? Then when my youngest went off I worried about being an empty nester. How would I fill my time since so much of it was taken up with my kid’s schedules? And of course, how would I deal with the knowledge that I was moving into a new stage of life and my concept of family would have to change.
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