Tips to Help Parents Deal with Freshman Year

Think back a few years, okay maybe it’s more like 20 or 30 years, and remember when you were packing up your prized possessions, heading off to college, or a new city, eager to start your “new” life. Your children are feeling the same anticipation, excitement and fear you felt all those years ago. The difference this time around is that you’re feeling all those emotions as well — and probably at a higher level.

The more you think about it (and we mean really think) you probably missed home, your parents, your pet and your favorite snacks more than high school. In today’s dorms, home can be bought in a boxed set from JCPenny and parents (and pets) can be skyped with whenever the homesickness takes over. Other comforts, depending on how far your student is traveling, may be harder to find.

Here’s five things you, parents, should stock up on before sending your freshman off to move-in day.

Flat Rate Shipping Boxes

Whether it’s something you left at home over break or just a simple DVD for those lazy weekends, the amount of stuff parents ship to their kids could probably fill a small closet. And along with that comes those pesky shipping costs. But, thankfully, USPS has flat rate priority shipping boxes that come in a variety of different sizes, cutting down on costs. Just make sure to fill the box entirely in order to get your full money’s worth.


One very popular item that families send to their college kids is food. Why? Because it’s useful, saves students time and money, and let’s be honest, dorm food is never all that great. Stocking up on basic snacks whenever there is a big sale or a little extra room in the grocery budget will make it easier to send snacks as a simple “thinking of you” present. Remember, though, that students are constantly on the run, so the more portable and easy it is, the better.


That change from Target that gets thrown in the bottom of your purse or pocket? Well, that’s like gold to a college student. Whether it’s for laundry or parking meters, college campuses seem to just love those quarter machines, and trust me, change can go quickly when you’ve got a lot of clothes or it’s just too freezing to walk to class one winter morning. So instead of just throwing that extra change aside, keep a jar to fill up with change and send it off to your student every once in a while. I can’t tell you how much they’ll need it.


College kids love getting mail, and it means a lot to get a note from home every once in a while. So if you don’t have any stationary or notecards hanging around the house, pick a few up at your local store. If you’re feeling really ambitious, check them out online. Some places, like The Stationary Studio offer notecards specifically tailored to different colleges and universities. They are a bit pricier, but if your family consists of a few hardcore fans, it could be worth the splurge.

Memories from Home
Newspaper clippings, high school alumni letters, church bulletins—they all serve as a reminder of the places and people that have had a huge impact on college students as they’ve grown up. Almost every college freshman will come down with a severe case of homesickness, and these memories will help ease the symptoms, making them feel like they’ve never left the place they’ve called home for so many years (well, almost). 

— By Kristy Shaulis, University of Alabama 

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