As we return to our previously typical (what’s “normal” anymore?) activities and schedules, this fall brings students back to brick-and-mortar schools — including college kids. Whether they’re freshmen or sophomores heading to campus for the first time, those departures from home stir up many emotions.
Parents and young adults may feel they’ve had a lot of togetherness since the pandemic began. But once our children are gone from the nest, we miss them — and somewhere deep down, they most likely miss us, too.
Here are 7 ways to share some love with your student away at a college campus.
1. Send a card. Who doesn’t love getting a personalized, handwritten envelope in the mail? Especially these days when almost everything is electronic, receiving a physical greeting card that can be held and displayed is really special. Get creative and make your own or grab one from the greeting card aisle.
2. Enclose a $10 or $20 bill in your card. With a child (or children) in college, finances may be understandably tight. But if it’s within your budget, any student away from home would be thrilled to get some surprise spending money. (And the extra green will make them forgive the original artwork if you did create your own card.)
Pictures are perfect. As a snail-mail bonus, develop and send some photos of the family or the pet(s). We all constantly take and share pictures on our cellphones, but a real, developed photograph can be pinned to a bulletin board or taped to a dorm room wall. Be sure, however, if the picture is older and the recipient is in it, that the shot is one they would approve of.
Encourage a sibling to share something. Even if they may have fought like cats and dogs. Those days are over for a semester, at least. See if a younger sibling would like to draw a picture, write a note or tell a story about current life at home. While it may be reverie, perhaps that rivalry can be turned around with a little sib-to-sib communication when they’re apart.
Ship standard and/or silly supplies. Useful writing instruments like mechanical pencils, Sharpies or highlighters often need to be replenished and can be expensive when purchased on or near campus.
Coffee gifts are always appreciated. Help your student stay caffeinated and alert while studying by loading up their online account at the local coffee chain. This will show you understand the grind (pun intended) your child is going through at college and that you wish them a latte success.
Baked goods hit the spot. You can certainly order a sweet treat to be delivered, but nothing says “love” like something from the oven at home. Package up and send a box of your student’s favorite cookies or your specialty item from the region. With so many shipping options available, it can arrive on campus still fresh and tasty.
College life is, of course, exciting — but it can be overwhelming. Even seemingly well-adjusted students may have pangs of homesickness now and then, whether they admit it or not. So a little thoughtfulness on a parent’s part goes a long way when a young adult is away from home. With so many options, it’s easy to send some love to campus this fall.
With over 35 years of editorial experience, Pam Goodwin is a self-proclaimed word nerd who prepares, polishes and perfects creative copy content. She serves as a college applications essay specialist under the guise of Goodwin Guidance.
More Tips from a College Student
Georgia Lattas, assistant editor at Northeast Ohio Parent is currently attending John Carroll University. She provides insight as a current college student on what is needed while on campus.
Send everyday supplies. Most underclassmen don’t have a car on campus, university transportation can be unreliable and some colleges have limited nearby shopping options, including drugstores. In these cases, it’s important to send your student(s) everyday supplies that may be hard to get otherwise — garbage bags, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, sheet paper, tape, staples, shampoo, conditioner, ibuprofen, new phone/tablet/computer chargers, etc.
Send clothes. Most students do not have time in their busy schedule to go to the local mall or department store, so sending your student(s) new clothes is a weight taken off their shoulders. This can be important when your student has an upcoming meeting or job interview and needs some business casual outfits from home, or when the seasons are changing and your student needs new clothes for the changing weather.
Send birthday/holiday cards/gifts. Students have to spend their birthdays away at college, so it is nice to get something through the mail from family. Aside from birthdays, send your student Valentine’s Day candy or Halloween decorations to decorate their dorm — little gestures like these have a huge impact.
Send snacks. Universities have vending machines or other kiosks to buy snacks, but these expenses add up, and there are limited options of snacks available (not to mention, dining hall food isn’t the greatest). Send your student a box full of snacks to eat during study sessions at the library or to share with friends in their dorm. A company called SnackBOX offers a variety of snacks – Oreos, fruit snacks, granola bars, cookies, etc – all in one collective box.