I am a married Mom of 3: Boy (4 yo), Boy (2 yo) and Girl (11 mo old). I founded MomsOutLoud.com in 2008, which is now DFWMama.com. (Basically, I decided I liked Rachael and her team so well I wanted to join it!) Now I'm here, writing about what I know and love - raising kids in North Texas.

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What Moms Need to Know to Prepare Kids for College

collegecampusWith the summer coming to a close, some students are preparing for the upcoming school year. Many students are heading into their first year of college. The number one thing on their mind is…FREEDOM! I have just completed my first year of college at Kansas State University, and I’m reflecting on my freshman year. I felt the same way this next class of freshmen is feeling. I was extremely ready to leave home and live on my own. Yes, that may have been a little bold but this is what every eighteen or nineteen year old is thinking at this time. However, there is a chance that this can come back and bite them. There were some firsthand experiences that made me come to this conclusion. This is a scary time for anyone who has had their parents do everything for them.

First of all be sure your son or daughter knows how to do laundry. I can’t even count the students who didn’t know how to do laundry and took it home so their mother could do it. Are their mothers going to continue doing that when they are 30? If the student doesn’t know how to do his or her laundry, it is a huge disservice. Mothers, make it easy on yourself and be sure your kid knows how to do his or her laundry.  They might end up with a pink sock but it is a mistake they won’t make again; so prepare them with plenty of laundry soap!

Second you might want to remind the student the reason they are going to college is to get an education, not just to party. Some people are more focused on the social scene and I cannot necessarily count myself out of that group. During those first couple months of college there are so many people to meet and make connections with.  I’m definitely not saying I socialized all of the time like some chose to do but I enjoyed being in the company of my friends, instead of being in company with a book and notes. It is so much easier to go grab a pizza with friends then to focus on an upcoming test. It will be hard for them to avoid socializing but they do need to focus on getting an education. The student needs to find a happy medium between academics and socializing. If they don’t it will be a tough lesson to learn.

Money is another issue for college students. If you are planning to give your student an allotted amount each month, the student needs to know how to handle it. I recommend having a certain amount for the month and each of the four weeks. For example, if you choose to give your student $100 suggest only using $25 a week. You have to give your kid a limit so they won’t overspend; I know this from personal experience. My first semester I spent a lot of money because I was friends with a big spender. She didn’t have a limit on her debit card so she bought what ever she wanted. In turn, I spent money right and left, to the point were I had a negative amount in my bank account! My second semester I took out an allotted amount out of my account and put money in four envelops. Each week I would grab an envelope and if I ran out, I ran out. I rarely used my debit card because I knew I would run out of my money faster. I do suggest getting a debit card along with a bank account. You don’t want your student to run out of money like I did.

Another thing I noticed was that many students went home every weekend this year. I think this is a disadvantage to an extent. Yes, it is great to go home and spend time with family and yes it is convenient, but not every single weekend. I think the problem was that many students missed their families so much and had problems adjusting to living on their own. So, they chose to take the easy way out and just go home. That is not a wise decision because they won’t be able to learn to live on their own. I know people who would not socialize and count down the days until the weekend just so they could escape college life. College is all about growing and learning who you are, a person won’t grow as much if they run back home. I feel like I have grown up so much this year because I was so far from home. There was no way I could escape college and go home because my family was eight hours away. At times being away was difficult but I learned to get through it and looked forward to going home for major holidays. Being so far from home is somewhat of a blessing. It made me realize how much a love my family and value spending time with them. So if it is at all possible parents: put your foot down when your child is coming home every weekend. My best advice is to encourage your child to stay at school as long as possible. Try to make it a game to see how long the student can go without coming home. This is a trying time but it definitely helps in the long run.

The first year of college is rough don’t get me wrong but it is such a growing experience and the outcome is wonderful. Hopefully, my personal stories didn’t scare you away; there were people who had it much easier and much more worse than I did. You know your child the best so if you feel they won’t be able to handle some of these situations, that’s ok just encourage them. Again this is such a wonderful time for young adults, strap in for the ride! I hope that my tips will help you and your college student!  

whitneyhanzlicekWhitney Hanzlicek is a sophomore in journalism while attending in Kansas State University. She is originally from Frisco, Texas and loves spending time with friends and family.

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