By Dan Fenyo
Ah college dorm residency! For some, an exhilarating first foray into independent living. For others, an unbridled plunge into unsupervised bedlam. Still others will reckon with the experience in totally unpredictable ways! Any idea which one your child will be?
For resident students, transitioning into life in a dorm may be the single most jarring change in their college journey. With high school students enrolling in an increasing number of AP and college-level classes, the academic course-load they encounter by the time they actually reach college might seem completely manageable (or even laughable). Although calculus might be old hat to them, living on their own could be uncertain territory, so before you unpack the minivan and say goodbye to them until Columbus Day, here are a few tips to help ease their move-in and your headache.
Stick to the Bare Necessities
Before you pack your child’s favorite cappuccino machine into their steamer trunk (in case they’re craving a late-night latte, of course), pump the brakes! Remember that space is fairly limited in a dorm, so you’ve got to be wise about what you choose to bring. Before your student’s dorm gets crammed full of convenience items, take a look at some of the amenities on campus that might replace them. No need for a coffee machine; there’s a café around the corner! Forget the free-weights; the campus recreation center is already stocked!
Sending your student away with some snacks and goodies is always nice, but don’t go shipping a crate of Cup-a-Noodle. Depending on their school, they’ll likely have access to a local grocery store or convenience shop on a regular basis. Consider a gift card or a reloadable debit card for them to use to restock whenever necessary. If their dorm starts to resemble a bomb shelter stocked for the apocalypse, getting actual work done might be tough.
In the end, it’s never a catastrophe if something is forgotten at home. Items can be replaced, shipped from home, or substituted. No matter the case, it’s not worth fretting over too much on move-in day; there’s a long semester ahead of them.
For students who have been fortunate enough to have their own room until college, sharing a space can cause some conflict if approached with a bad attitude. A roommate assignment will arrive in the mail sometime after the Housing Contract is submitted in early summer. Encourage your student to be proactive about contact their future bunkmate and sorting out who’s bringing what. They’ll feel awfully silly if move-in day comes around and they’ve got two televisions and no refrigerator! If possible, try to arrange a meet-up in the summertime so the roomies can get to know each other before the semester begins. It might even be a good idea to meet up with the roommate’s parents and exchange contact information.
Does your child have a roommate in mind? They can request one another by listing the other person’s name on their Housing Contract when it arrives on May 1st. Plenty of students meet their future roommate at Accepted Students Day, so make sure you register to attend on March 3rd or April 6th!
Keep In Touch
When I was a freshman in college, there was a moment of brilliant clarity when I realized I could eat steamed dumplings for every meal. You can imagine how well that ended.
Watching your child exercise their new independence can be an exciting thing, but it’s never a bad idea to check in to make sure they’re eating a vegetable every now and then. Often times, they’re looking forward to a phone call as much as you are. Try to keep your involvement measured. The most important thing you can offer is your support. Whether nightly, weekly, or otherwise, consider making a schedule for check-ins. Setting aside a few minutes in the evening to chat can be therapeutic to parent and child alike. At the same time, allow for lapses in availability on both sides. It’s a time of major change for them as much as you; learn how to share your journeys!
There are fewer than 200 days until Move-In Day on August 25th for the Fall 2019 semester. What questions or concerns do you have as we approach it? Let me know on Facebook and Instagram how we can help you empty your nest without any ruffled feathers!
Daniel Fenyo has been an admissions counselor at the Mount since September 2018. A lifelong Hudson Valley resident, he enjoys reading, writing, and all things nerdy in his free time.
Find out more about becoming part of the Knight Life at Mount Saint Mary College by visiting our Admissions site!