The 10 Things You Need to Say to Your Teen At College Move-In Day

It’s here!

The day you dreamed about, dreaded a little, and dutifully did everything you could for the last 18 years to guarantee would happen, is now actually happening. You bought the twin XL sheets, the shower caddies, the throw rugs (and about a hundred other accessories that you’re certain will probably go unused) but guilt, joy, and excitement added them to your cart anyway.

Now there’s just one thing left to say.

Well, there are A LOT of things left to say, but between loading and unloading bins and bins of stuff, setting up their room (and hyperventilating and crying hot, wet tears in the bathroom while nobody is looking) you’re gonna totally forget all the things you wanted to say. Here, let me help….

mom daughter hug
There are A LOT of things left to say at college drop off and so easy to forget all the things you wanted to say.

What to say at college move-In day

1. I’m proud!

It’s probably the most obvious thing you’ll say all day but say it anyway. And say it more than once. And say it a week later when they’re still excited. And a week after that when they call to share all the cool things they’re doing. And then a few months later when they’re having a miserable week and think they can’t do this? Tell them how proud you are again. And again. And again.

2. Bad days are not a bad life.

Between parties and football games, there are going to be plenty of really, really bad days. There will be failed tests, roommate disagreements, and hundreds of other crisis-filled moments, but they are all part of life and growing up. Learn resilience from them, not defeat. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

3. Your instincts are very powerful.

If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong, so don’t do it. Your initial gut reaction to what is happening around you and to you is usually the one you want to trust and listen to. You have instincts for a reason, use them.

4. Go to your professor’s office hours.

Yes, there may be 500 students in your class, but that doesn’t mean your professor doesn’t have the time or desire to meet you. Go introduce yourself and sit a chat for a few minutes at the beginning of the semester, then go again a few weeks later. And later when you really need help, that professor will recognize you and you’ll be greeted with fondness and appreciation, not annoyance.

5. Tired, poorly fueled bodies cannot learn well, or at all.

You will have no curfew (and nobody making sure you’re eating dinner and going to bed at normal hours), and while you’re going to be relishing these facts and enjoying their benefits,  it’s also a recipe for a health and wellness disaster. Sleep. Eat well. Repeat.

6. Nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.

My father told me this, and now it’s my duty to pass it on to you. No good, smart, sound decision was ever made in the wee hours of the morning. Ever. Treat those hours as potentially disastrous, and just get yourself and your friends home before chaos and regret ensue.

7. Drinking too much is a major turn-off.

Proving that you can down 6 shots is not only one of the most ignorant and reckless things you can do, it also shows your peers that you value your sober self about as much as last night’s stale pizza. As a matter of fact, being stupid drunk only makes you two things, stupid and drunk.

8. I’m not tracking you, so call or text me back in a reasonable amount of time. Two days later is not reasonable.

I’m more than happy to cut the apron strings and grant you the freedom you deserve. However, with that freedom comes the responsibility to actually stay in touch with me. Grown-ups call and text back in a respectable and reasonable amount of time. It’s time to be a grown-up.

9. Join a lot of clubs. Play intramural sports. Go to college-sponsored lectures, movies, performances, and social functions. Keep trying to find your people.

Your people are no longer just the ones you’re stuck with in geometry class. Your people are now to be found among the thousands of potential friends walking beside you on campus, eating across from you in the dining hall, or sitting next to you in a lecture hall. They are out there, but you have to make the first move, for lack of a better phrase!

10. Your people are going to change.

The best friend you’re probably going to make your freshman year, may not even be talking to you in three years, and that’s OK. You’re going to grow, change, and mature in ways you cannot comprehend now, and that’s the whole purpose of college. So if friends come in and out of your life in waves (and tsunamis), let it happen. Let them be there for you when you need them, but know that as you change, so will your friend circle.

And finally, just call your mom, OK?

Call to say hello, call to tell me you need new underwear, call to tell me you want to come home, and call to tell me you never want to come home, but just call. Because we moms? All we want is to hear your voice. So when you want to text us, please don’t.

CALL, CALL, CALL!! (We promise to send candy if you do!)

You Might Also Enjoy Reading:

What to Remember on Your Lonely Return to Your Empty Nest 

College Move-In Day: 12 Things That Will Save Your Life

About Melissa Fenton

Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer and adjunct librarian at Pasco-Hernando State College. Find her writing all over the internet, but her work mostly on the dinner table. Find her on Facebook 
and on twitter at @melissarunsaway

Read more posts by Melissa

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