Who else is dropping their kid off at college for the first time?

Sueb20August 23, 2014

Ouch. We left our DS at school yesterday. I had my teary moments in anticipation of this day, starting on graduation, and saying goodbye wasn't as gut wrenching as I thought it would be (although I foolishly started crying in the lunch buffet line after the convocation). But his room, his empty room! gah! It's at the top of the stairs so it's THERE every time I go upstairs. Empty. Door open (so unusual!).

I know he is going to be fine. He was already referring to floor mates as "friends" within hours of meeting them. There are lots of fun activities planned all weekend so he will meet others. He loves the school. But then there's that moment where I texted him to let him know about something he forgot, and he said he was just hanging out in his room alone. What? OMG. Why is he alone? Poor kid, is he okay? (Yes, I know he's fine.) This is my boy who hasn't even gone away to summer camp for more than one week, so it will be an adjustment for him as well as for DH and me. (DH cried all through convocation so he's no better than I am.)

I know we'll get used to it, and in fact we have done this before with DS1 but for a million reasons it was different that time.

Anyone else?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just typed a whole response then pouf it disappeared. My DH and I did the same just this past week. One of the hardest things I've ever done. In fact, I took off of work on Wednesday after we returned because I just needed a day.

This is our oldest child who through his life has worked really hard to compensate, work through, live with a learning disability which he will always have. The road has been extremely difficult at times but he persevered. All of that hard work paid off as he is now at his dream school and on the football team. Again, the road to get to this point ( this past year especially) has been fraught with many degrees of uncertainty. But even with his issues, he has always been a natural leader with a great understanding of working towards a goal or for something bigger than onesself. Sorry, didn't mean to have a brag fest, but we are just so proud of this kid because his road has been long. In fact, I feel more comfortable doing that here in the inconspicuous of the site than with people we know. Most of our family/friends don't even know about the football thing yet or learned from others as we don't feel comfortable putting it out there.

I am worried about him though. I worry about his ability just to keep up with daily activities like dishes, laundry, etc. He is in a student apartment not a dorm so those responsibilities have me worried in addition to everything else on his plate.

So in a nutshell, Tuesday was very emotional for all of us as we left and this week has been draining to say the least. I feel your pain and am right there with ya!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Louisiana, sorry but I have to laugh. Dishes not done, laundry etc. looks like his apartment will look like everybody else's! You have every right to feel proud and brag.

Although I am long past this stage, bot DD's graduated a while ago, I still like to stop in to view these posts. College is just an incredible journey.

Hang in there Sueb!

This post was edited by ellendi on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 11:13

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Louisiana, your experience with your DS is similar (or was) to ours with our older DS. Unfortunately, his college experience didn't work out but I am sure your son's experience will be better! (Ours did not, and still doesn't, have the ability to look at the big picture.)

Of course my DS who is now 5-1/2 hours away told me this morning that he was feeling bad and kinda lonely for a while last night and I wanted to drive right up there! And I am NOT generally a helicopter mom. And I'm kidding, of course, and I know he's going to have plenty of those moments in the weeks ahead. (And he did get together with new friends later, so the moment was brief.)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I know it sounds ridiculous to read about the laundry, dishes, etc. lol. I guess it's more about imposing on the other roommates. There are three others all of whom he didn't know before moving in (which I think is great and all of them need the experience). We have always taught him to be mindful of others, but I worry about him being the one who leaves both sides of the sink full of dirty dishes or laundry in the wash and then leaves for hours. I did try to get this across to him before we left because when he gets a load on his plate he at times can become situationally unaware if that makes sense.

We did meet one roommate, great kid, but did not meet the others. I worry he is going to be with three engineering majors who like things just so and he is the polar opposite of that. Part of his issue is extreme unorganization and as long as he keeps that to his room I'm okay. I just don't want it to spread outside of there. And then there is the worry of his overall lack of organizational skills in general and how they are needed in college, etc. and on and on and on. I hope that makes sense!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Louisiana, how far away is he? Just wonder if it's possible for you to pop in from time to time to see how he's living... Or I guess with Skype you can get a glimpse of what the place looks like!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Louisiana, but that's my point, I don't think the others will be much better.

Some colleges have good support services for new students. Does yours?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ah Sue....I feel your pain...been there,done that three times. #1 was hard because he was #1....but he went less than an hour away and was rooming with his best friend since toddlerhood so I knew he would be fine. #2, DD, was tough. She went 6 hours away. DH had to fly out from there for work after we moved her in, so I drove home by myself and cried for the whole 6 hour drive home, pulling off at rest stops to try to collect myself. She also was rooming with her best friend so that provided some comfort. #3 was tough too. He went even farther away for a special program not available in our state, but he was my homebody more prone to homesickness, so I worried about that. It didn't help he ended up with a loser 25 year old roommate. He's also a little offbeat so he worried about making friends and fitting in. The first day he spotted a kid in the cafeteria wearing a t shirt of some obscure band he liked, introduced himself and they became fast friends. And he was able to move into another dorm room second semester.

They all ended up having wonderful college experiences and, seeing them happy and maturing, made the pain of not having them around a little more palpable.

They're all out of college now and working..oldest is married. The boys are here...DD is still in her college town. We love seeing them, but we also love being empty nesters! Hang in there..it will get better and you will love watching your son grow and mature these next 4 years.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi All,

Sorry for just getting back. I've been out and about this morning and afternoon running errands and working towards getting an old sofa recovered finally, yay!

I didn't mean to hijack the thread about my boy. I feel like that has happened. I know he will be fine, but I just worry as we all do. When we left we know he was kind of feeling overwhelmed with his academic schedule, but we learned this morning that he has already heard from a couple or three of his professors through email so that was a bit comforting to him.

Ellendi, that's what I'm hoping that they are all slobs!! Also, by being a student athlete he has more people to be accountable to than the average student with required hours of tutoring, counseling,etc. All of these things have been an added benefit in that respect and most of his day is occupied. He is the type that gets more accomplished (needs the structure) with less free time available than more.

Sue, we will actually be attending all home games this year so he will
probably end up getting a greater dose of us than he wants by mid-semester. The school is three hours away. So it's not too close that he feels we may smother him but close enough that we can make a weekend trip pretty easily.

I also wanted to add that he is great kid all around and not completely helpless in case I made him sound that way!!! Lol. He is more socially mature than most kids his age, well mannered, and kind hearted. Even when he was small, he had a great ability to carry on conversations with adults. He has always been complemented on that trait, and he is very good for taking up for or including the outsider or underdog. I think it is because he knows first hand what it is like to struggle and experience difficulties in life (and too, his little brother is autistic). So we are very familiar in this family with struggles.

Sue, I feel your pain with the struggles your oldest deals with. I think I read something about that on a thread once. Sorry for not contributing to that one, but if you ever need an ear I would be glad to listen. Again, sorry to take over. Anyone else out there with little birds taking the next step??

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 4:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems I've been dropping my kids off somewhere since they were very young between camp and school. but that first semester at college for each one feels different because you know it's the last stop until they are on their own.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did that with my first grandchild this week.....it isn't any easier than it was when her dad left for college 25 years ago. She is 7.5 hours away from home. In her whole life, I've never gone 4-5 months of not seeing her! I feel on the verge of tears just THINKING of it. In my heart, I know it is right for her. She definitly needs to develop and use her wings. But to be so far away and not knowing anybody....whoa! So, I know where you're coming from....

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We dumped our third and last two days ago. Each one's experience is different. It is sort of a cocoon/butterfly deal. It is our job as parents to allow them this struggle/growth. I remember when I left for college. I CANNOT imagine the intrusion of my parents on a cell phone, or their hanging around college--visiting weekends. I am doing my best to respect this time of THEIR LIFE. It is near impossible to not know what is going on with every hour of their lives..we spend 18 years knowing what happened, what's going on and now NOTHING. But that is what not living with people is like. We established an agreement with our first. We help him financially and we do not intrude on him, if he calls once a week. The purpose is to set a habit. Now that he is graduated and fully on his own,an electrical engineer living the life he earned he continues to call once a week. Curiously DD has struggled with this arrangement more than son did. She is more likely to forget and she doesn't chat the way he does. Now with #3 in line our Sunday evenings will be very full. Remember this is what as parents we hoped for when they were born--to be come fully independent, functioning adults. They don't do that unless we give them the room to!!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My #1 son was also a student athlete for all 4 years of college. For him, it provided a different set of friends/group from the dorm. And, because there are games, meets etc, you ( the parents) will meet and interact with both the student athletes and parents on a longer term basis. Upperclassmen athletes are also a good source for scheduling etc. Sidenote: son #2 returns to college today (7 hours away) and I will be tearful :( Before you know it, they are home for fall break,Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since this is GW I can also mention that his sad, vacant room is also my fall decorating project, so focusing on that is helping! He has awful wallpaper that will be stripped, and a cracked ceiling that will be replaced. In the process I'll have to empty the whole room, which presents a perfect opportunity to purge/organize 18 years of stuff. And yes, I consulted with him on all of the above, including paint color.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are leaving tomorrow morning to fly DD #1 to college. Waah! I'm excited, but my stomach is a knot of anxiety. For the most part I think she'll be fine, but I am worrying obsessively anyway. We just finished packing the last suitcase. Sue, your mention of his empty room is bringing tears to my eyes.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We dropped our youngest off for his first year last weekend and the oldest left for his senior year the next day. The freshman is about 5 hours away (driving) and the senior is a three hour flight/2-3 day drive. What I've missed most is being able to see all their concerts and performances, but I am planning on making at least a couple of the senior's (two big ones plus his senior recital) and as many of the freshman's as I can this year. It is going to be a very different year for us. Excited for them, but different here.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's not just you parents who feel a bit, well, bereft after their departure!

I'm an aunt, and the youngest 3 -- all the same age as each other -- are going off for their 2nd year in college.

Starting at their h.s. graduation, this wave of sadness came over me. I've been so lucky to live within a quick plane flight of them when they were growing up, so there were strong bonds made. Now, with them scattered (to fly-able cities, but still), that's where I sense that they're really on their own now. And I guess I always want to picture them the way they were, an adorable little threesome with their big brother. I can't imagine how I would feel if I were actually the mother! Takes some real inner fortitude, I bet.

But their parents and hopefully some of us relatives have given them a great foundation for being admirable adults and contributing members to society -- that's the positive takeaway.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DS is calling me today after his first day of classes plus his audition for the university band (cross your fingers with me, please!) so I am looking forward to talking to him. He struggled at times over the weekend, which obviously is normal but made me feel a bit helpless from home. Growing pains for us both! A good portion of his floor in the dorm is a "learning community" that is different from his major, and they had several activities over the weekend (including new "friends" he has met and liked) so I think he felt a bit isolated, but those feelings didn't last because they socialized later in the day. And yes, he has been there only 3-4 days so I don't expect him to be totally settled (but I think he must have had the expectation based on his first day when he felt like he was all set socially!). Classes started today so the structure will help.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sometimes the dorm assignments are not thought through. I can see how he would feel left out under these circumstances.
Wishing you (your son) the best in his audition. He'll do fine!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hope he sails through the audition!

If it's any comfort my son was in a dorm of only his major (the draw dept. at the school he went to) and ended up with a total deadbeat who was 25 years old! I about flipped over that....what 25 year old would even WANT to be in a dorm with 18 years olds?!!! The kid was from our area (about 10 hours from the school) and I should have known what a flake he was when my son tried to get a hold of him several times to introduce himself and discuss microwave/tv, etc... and never got a response. I finally got a hold of his parents and they were as clueless as the kid. It wasn't until he finally arrived at school (2 days late) we found out he was 25. My son managed to put up with him for the first semester (smelly gym clothes just thrown in the corner) and then found another roommate. I don't think that kid lasted the year...my son never saw him again after the first year.

So, at least your son is not dealing with the same nonsense as my son. I'm sure there are a million roommate horror stories out there! He will find a core group of friends either in the dorm or classes.....he will be fine!!!! All the kids are in the same boat and anxious to meet people and form friendships...it will happen!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wishing your son good luck today! I'm sure he'll settle in soon, it's all so hard on them those first few days.

My DS goes next year. I'm pretty sure I will be a puddle.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My kids went off to college, came back briefly before starting their careers and now are permanently gone from the "nest." We heard from them lots when in college because once they are into dorm life, they realize how wonderful home really is.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sue - I was bummed when I read about your DS's weekend but glad to hear it turned around in the end. Doesn't it just make your heart sink to hear those things! Sending good vibes your way for the band audition. I love college bands. Also, I meant to mention earlier, I love the pic you posted!

kswl - but that first semester at college for each one feels different because you know it's the last stop until they are on their own. Exactly, it's a crossroads...a last stop and a first step at the same time. This is one of the reasons the entire past year actually has been tough. One comes to the realization that there are no do-overs. Either you got it right or you didn't!

lascatx - Your two sound amazing. What instruments do they play or are they vocal performers?

kristine - good luck to you and your girl! Ugh, it's tough isn't it.

pammyfay - you sound like an amazing aunt!

arcy - I CANNOT imagine the intrusion of my parents on a cell phone, or their hanging around college--visiting weekends. I am doing my best to respect this time of THEIR LIFE. I just wanted to clarify that we would never interfere or intrude on his life at college without being invited first. We never have unless asked or was necessary; however, we will never stop supporting him in his athletic endeavors as long as they may last. In fact, my family has held football season tickets to this university for many, many years and this son spent his entire childhood and adolescence attending games at this school so the fact that he is on the team is a really big deal. Since we have gone down there almost every home football weekend since the beginning of time (back to my youth :)), that is definitely not going to change now! Most of these upcoming weekends will only be day trips for us so we will only see him from afar. There will only be two/three where we would spend the night and see him (if possible) the following day. Which I feel he would be more than happy about since it would involve grocery shopping. We would never dream of just popping into his apartment, etc. without being asked if for no other reason than the intrusion on his roommates.

In fact since leaving him last Tuesday, I have only called him once and that was the very next day to check on him. He has initiated all other contact (which has been a lot actually) due to socks' reason stated above..... they realize how wonderful home really is!

ratherbesewing - Thanks for sharing your experience about the athletics. Hopefully ours will be similar.

beth and curls - it is quite the experience!!

joanie - I just have my finger's crossed mine doesn't turn out to be the 25 year old....lol!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Louisiana, I have to disagree. There are do overs and second chances. My oldest dropped out of an out of state highly ranked university, came home, got a job immediately in the fashion industry. Later that year she was accepted to FIT, where she graduated with a degree in Textile Development.

There are many reasons why we take one road and wind up down an entirely different one. It's not always a question of getting it right the first time.

And, Louisiana, if it takes your son longer to graduate, so be it. What's the rush? My youngest graduated 6 months late so she could add on a special certificate program.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

re: second chances, not really the point I was trying to make. I completely agree that everyone deserves a second chance, or third, or fourth even under the proper circumstances. What I meant was more about having set the proper foundation; morals, goals, attitude, work ethic, gratitude, etc. I do believe once the foundation has been laid it is harder to chisel out and reset a bad one than to start with a good one.

No rush on the years it takes. I just hope we don't end up six years down the road without one inkling of focus or direction as the kid mentioned above.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, DS wasn't optimistic about his audition today because he was up against 6-7 other players who played the same instrument and are music majors. And, he said he made a couple of mistakes. Meanwhile, he has been approached by two different people on the crew team so he was going to a meeting tonight and intends to try out. (He's very tall and slender but strong, I guess a good combo for crew? Who knows. He has always played sports but never crew.) I think if he had to choose between music and sports, he'd probably choose sports. Anyway, he was very cheerful today so if kiddo is happy, mommy is happy. Also, I am able to walk by his room without wanting to cry or puke, so we're all making progress. (Except maybe DH, who is now looking at our 8th grade DD and saying, She's grown, hasn't she? How did she get so big? What is happening??)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good news! Glad to hear he's happy and mom and dad are making progress.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm laughing (in a nice way) about the 3 engineering majors who might want everything just so. We're a family of engineers and my kids attend a university that's heavily engineeringl. Lots of engineering majors are slobs. I'll bet there will be plenty of dirty dishes and unwashed laundry besides his in that apartment.

The engineers might have their classwork organized and their math neatly done, but that doesn't mean they'll actually take out the garbage on a timely basis. But their video game setup will be awesome.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Best of luck SueB and SueB DS2! I am dreading the day already. My oldest just started high school so I have four years theoretically, but my 12yo wants to go to boarding school for high school so maybe I will be packing one off sooner. I am not looking forward to it.

I think as a parent you are so busy trying to mold them and give them experiences and skills and knowledge, you don't always spend enough time enjoying their company. I try to remind myself of that; instead of constantly being in Mom mode, just enjoy them once in a while.

How exciting he might do crew. Exactly what you want from college; a chance to do something new!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So true -- I found that this summer DS and I spent more time than ever just sitting and chatting, and I really enjoyed it (I think he did too!). Fortunately he's the kind of kid who I don't have to spend much time nagging, so most of our conversations are pleasant! My other DS, on the other hand... Don't get me started.

One thing I am glad about as I look back on my mom experiences -- throughout their lives, so far, I've been able to spend quality 1:1 time with each of my 3 kids. Partly because of their age spacing (3+ years between #1 and #2, and 5 years between #2 and #3) and partly because of their diverse interests (the two older kids have almost nothing in common, so for example I didn't have to divide my time between two boys' sporting events because the older one didn't play sports). The DS who is now in college is very similar to me temperament-wise, so we have always understood each other. Sometimes I do wish they were closer to each other, but that was beyond my control!

DD is 13 and will probably dis me soon enough and then I'll have to get another dog or something.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sue, is it bad that I'd like my daughter to tell me she's feeling lonely sometime and ask me to visit pronto like your son did? It's really very sweet; be thankful. My daughter attends university 8 hours from home yet never seemed to miss home last year (freshman year) and couldn't wait to return to school a couple weeks ago. Of course I realize it's a positive thing that she loves her studies, friends, surroundings and adventures so much, but ... gosh. We do talk and text a lot, though, something I don't expect to do as much of with my son when he goes off to college in two years.

I'm laughing at the comments about engineering students as my daughter attends an engineering school and is studying biomed and mechanical. Her housemates created a spreadsheet listing every item in the house along with separate shopping, utility bill and housework spreadsheets. This is something none of my friends would've ever considered preparing in college. So yes, they are indeed extremely tidy and organized, but I'm also married to an engineer and am well aware that tidiness is not a universal trait in the profession!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, but I'm going to drop my 4 year old grandson at kindergarten (it's a 2 year kindergarten) on Weds and I feel all your pain :(

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

juju, DS told me yesterday (without being asked) that he's not homesick yet. After a couple hours on day two, he seems to have fallen right in with a good group of kids and seems very happy and comfortable.

Funny how we all react in our own ways. We were cleaning up after the long weekend at our beach house today, and DH got really sad about "all the balls and toys in the garage." (Our youngest is 13, still playful but wasn't feeling well this weekend so DH had no one to play with!)

For me, it's the constantly made-up bed and empty room, even at our beach house. Maybe I'll go in his room and mess up the bed and throw some schoolbooks on the floor...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's so quiet here... Sort of melancholy. We got back last Thursday and the drop off went as well as one could expect (no problems with boxes sent ahead, very nice roommate, etc.). Only real issue was that it was very warm, and of course the dorm was not air conditioned! Very stuffy. But DD seemed okay and has continued to sound okay the past few days. The real test starts tomorrow when classes begin! Sigh.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yesterday was the first day that we had no communication w/ DS. We did "Facetime" on Mon. and were happy to see he looked the same. After 10 whole days. ;)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:10AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What do you have on your patio sliding doors??
I would like to change out my dated vertical blinds...
Choosing Art Size and Orientation
I am in the process of choosing a canvas art piece...
staircase light fixture
Would this lantern style fixture look right above the...
Need opinions for overhead lights on island
So, we just got our overhead lights for our island...
Carpet only in the closet?
Would you carpet a closet when you've got hardwood...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™