I’m looking forward to my daughter’s college graduation about as much as I would contracting hantavirus.
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
I’m convinced that from the moment I became a parent, time sped up. You blink and they are in school. You turn around and high school is over. I’m positive that it was just yesterday we packed up her boxes, including her favorite blankie, her Yion (see photo) and we drove her to college.
Nevertheless, we are facing her college graduation. I’m in denial, but yet I feel the overwhelming desire to plan and be prepared. Because that’s the kind of person I am.
The Actual Day
There are some simple steps to be prepared for the day itself. If you are headed to commencement ceremonies soon act like a boy scout and be prepared!
Odds are you are probably going to walk and sit, a lot. Wear some comfy shoes. Plan for the weather. I live in a place where the mantra is “You don’t like the weather, stay five minutes, it will change”. Sunscreen, a hat and maybe even a rain poncho, just in case, will go a long way. Don’t forget you are going to be sitting with about at least a thousand other people, let’s not wear the gigantic beach hat and block everyone’s view.
Think about snacks. Will you have younger kids with you or Grandpa who always seems to have the munchies? Pack some water and maybe a couple granola bars. Please note, I’m not suggesting you get out the picnic basket and make a day of it, campus security is likely to frown on that concept.
I cry over a sappy commercial, I can guarantee there will be tears, bring some kleenex. Don’t forget the camera and most of all your manners. Memories need to be captured but don’t forget about those thousand other people I mentioned earlier, they have their own memories to record as well.
Remember those boxes that you packed up before your student left for college?
They’re back. They’ve multiplied.
And they are in your garage.
It’s been a few years since your graduate lived under your roof. Don’t expect that they will move back into their room and start doing those Saturday chores from four years ago.
Your son or daughter is likely having their own personal panic attack. Be prepared to identify and address any signs of mental health issues, maybe even borderline depression. They are hoping and praying to find a job, while worrying about paying off their debt. Honestly, they are missing their friends and wondering why there is no party to attend on Friday night.
It’s OK to set up boundaries for your returning college student. A curfew and rules about overnight guests should be discussed. It’s acceptable to discuss how they will contribute to the household while they are back. Potentially they could help with regular chores, cooking or even paying rent.
To really prepare your child, sit down and help them set up a budget and a financial roadmap. Reasonably, after six months of working, they may be able to move out on their own.
Encourage your son or daughter to get out of the house. Don’t let them wallow in the basement in front of the TV or go back to the “sleep until noon” schedule. There is a free wi-fi at the coffee shop down the road, let them start their job search there.
Me, I’m going to ignore the calendar and stay in denial for awhile, it’s comfortable here.
C.A. Newberry, a retired Communications & Events Coordinator, has a passion for continued learning. She spent years advising small businesses and mentoring youth in her community. If she is not at her computer, you can find her at the ballpark with her family. Connect with her on Twitter.