Helping your student prepare for independence

Every student who embarks on their own journey thinks they have everything under control. We’ve all been there. We think we know all the answers. The world is at our feet. But then, we have those first ten minutes alone in our first apartment or dorm room, or our first day of getting lost on the way to class, and we realize: we don’t know what we’re doing.

We want to prevent your student from feeling these feelings as much as possible! Culture shock, adjustment, and feeling lost on campus are hard enough for new students without anxiety about living on their own. Here are some things you can help your student practice at home before they ship out to collegiate life, and ultimately, their first shot at independence.

  • Laundry - Make sure they know how to wash and iron their clothing. There aren’t laundry services in the dorm buildings, only washers and dryers.
  • Food - Do they know how to grocery shop and plan meals for the week? If they don’t, take them with you on your next shopping trip! Whether they have a meal plan or not, there will be times when they will want the comfort of eating a food they grew up eating and will need to know how to make it themselves.
  • Money - Help them to plan and keep a budget. Talk to them about the uses and dangers of credit cards.
  • Cleaning - Teach them how to clean the kitchen, bathroom, and their room. It is easier to be focused while studying in a clean environment.
  • Medical - Plan for illness! They will get sick at some point: make sure they know how to treat basic illnesses, when to go to a doctor, how to use insurance.
  • Working - Ask them about their plans for classes and maybe keeping a job. Having a job in your first semester can either help keep you on track, or overwhelm you. Help them find a balance.
  • Conflict - Talk about conflict. They will clash with their roommates eventually. They need to be prepared for it, and understand that they aren’t the only ones experiencing it. If the live on-campus, their RA will be available to help them with conflict, too.

These few steps to setting your child up for independence are important. This is their journey to success and independence, but you are still a huge part of it.