College is such an important time in a young adult’s life. Even though nowadays there is debate over the value of college, there is no doubt that for many people, college marks the shift to full-fledged independence. Not only is college usually the first time many people are out on their own, but it is also when they get to discover who they are and who they want to be.
The role of college in each person’s life can vary drastically. Some students enter college because it was what they and their parents planned for the moment they were born. Others see college as an opportunity to change their life. But no matter where students come from, the college has something for each and every one of them, whether they expected it or not.
And what each person gets out of college can be very different too. Though college is an academic institution, for those who want it, there are opportunities that extend even further.
A college education can prepare someone for an advanced job or even change their entire perspective about life and the world. College is also a time for many people to experiment with their interests, gaining experience through internships, study abroad, group projects, and even just having fun with friends.
While going to college can be a transformative experience for many students, for parents, it usually represents something different. After sending their kids off to college, many parents hope that they raised their kids with strong values and convictions so that their kids can navigate college on their way into the real world.
As such, when parents send their children off to college, there is a mixture of happiness, sadness, hope, and fear. Many parents want their children to go to college so that they can provide for themselves, learn to think for themselves and make good decisions about career paths and their values. But of course, not every new college student comes out the other end with a degree, a job, and having grown up through the whole process.
The newfound independence can be overwhelming for many college students. Not only is the responsibility of being an adult starting to fully set it, but they also just need to physically and mentally take care of themselves – something that college students can often underestimate.
Doing their own laundry, cooking for themselves, while making sure that their homework is done, they’ve studied enough, and have started reaching out to professors and companies about opportunities, are a whole lot of things for a student to keep track of – especially someone who is new at it.
So even though parents are sending their kids off to college to get an education and start living independently, it is rarely a blunt send-off. Usually, this transition is made a bit more slowly, across the first two years of college.
Just before freshman move-in or even orientation, you can find families scattered across the aisles of nearly every home or office store, helping their soon-to-be college students prepare for the next phase of their life. They are picking up everything from books to backpacks and lamps and bedsheets to snacks.
So, if you are a parent about to send your kid to college, what kinds of things you need to pick up? What would a responsible parent equip their children with to best prepare them for the brand new world of college?
In addition to passing down decades of wisdom, here are a few things you should make sure your college student has before they head out:
- A mattress pad
If your college freshman is about to live in a dorm, get a mattress pad. It’s that simple.
Dorms are typically cramped and uncomfortable, especially if you’re living in close quarters with a roommate. That, plus the sleepless nights of studying and the anxiety of exams and homework will put even a little bit of quality relaxation time at the top of every student’s priorities. And coming home to a nice, comfy bed will really help in the long run.
- A laptop
A laptop is vital! Especially in these technologically advanced times. Many classrooms take advantage of online tools like polling services or in-class online quizzes.
Also, having a laptop is great for students, because they can work from anywhere and have better access to the tools they need both in class and out of class. Many classes require some kind of software or online homework submission.
- Shower Shoes
If your child is about to enter the world of public, dormitory restrooms, having shower shoes is a lifesaver. And investing in a sturdy pair that’ll last a long time, like the ones mentioned in Giftwits’s shower shoe guide, will ensure that no one has to step into a strange, damp bathroom with their bare feet. (It’s gross).
- A dry-erase board
Another great addition to your child’s college experience is their very own personal whiteboard. Getting to write up big events, essays, and homework due dates will help keep them on track. And if they run into a problem while doing their calculus homework or brainstorming for an essay, a whiteboard comes in handy.
- A cookbook
Trust me, dining hall food gets old real fast. Even though most colleges have buffet-style dining halls that seem to have all the food you could ever think of, the variety isn’t usually that great. So, if you’re child is going to college, whether or not they have a meal plan, they should have a cookbook.
There are many cookbooks that specialize in college food – and by that I mean food that can be cooked in a common room with typical pantry ingredients. Plus, students should be learning to cook anyways. It’s a valuable life skill.
So, if you are about to send your child to college and want the scoop on what to bring, these are some of the most valuable items you could possibly get for your soon-to-be college student. Though these only cover a few must-haves, they’re definitely important, and you shouldn’t skip over them if you catch them along the big adventure that is pre-college shopping.