Okay, it’s official. Summer is here. Many of us empty nesters find the nest is not that empty now that summer has arrived. Yes, it is a big adjustment. But, I have some basic survival tips for you to help summer sail along smoothly with your college students back at home. Here are my top five:
1. Act blind
You know the bedroom inhabited by your college student? It does not exist. You really have to take the ‘see no evil’ route when it comes to the vacationing student’s bedroom…there is no way to survive the summer if you actually open the door and look in. You can occasionally plead that food and/or dirty clothes are routinely removed, but basically you need to just accept the fact that it will be total chaos in that room. You can venture in, wearing a hazmat suit, come August; hoping for the best.
2. Use the urban dictionary
What is a mandime? This word came up when I was watching an episode of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory with my kids. I had no idea what it meant. There will be plenty you may not understand…with texting, song lyrics, and everyday expressions used by your returning student…the best way to handle it? Use the urban dictionary. By going to the website www.urbandictionary.com, you will get a good idea of what a specific text or slang expression means without actually having to ask. Aahh, the beauty of the internet. Now you don’t have to hear your child exclaim “ooooohh moooom” when you don’t understand something they consider a commonplace term.
3. Know your college website
I think most parents are amazed at the lack of information they are able to attain from their college student. Heck, we only help pay for their education, we don’t need to know about minor things… like, move-in dates, awards ceremonies, or graduation! In my experience, this is especially true with sons. Unbelievable amounts of research are performed by the student to find out which spring break location has the largest outdoor bar, but apparently the date of parents’ weekend is a mystery. If you are a planner (like I am) and really need some information, the fastest and easiest way to get it is to go onto your student’s school website. If you search ‘academic calendar’ you will be able to get most of the information you will need. And, if it is graduation year for your child, most schools even have a special link for graduation information. You can book your hotel for graduation at the beginning of the year without ever having to rely on your student to provide you with the appropriate date. Bookmark the school’s website and you will know more of what happens on campus than your student.
4. Be a texter
If you have a college-aged child, you certainly must know by now that texting is the preferred method of communication. If you want to be relieved of a lot of worrying…you have to know how to text…even if the only reply you may get to your message is ‘k’, it is often worth the piece of mind to know your child is alive and breathing.
5. Get some white noise
The fifth, but probably the most important survival tip, is to get yourself some white noise for bedtime…this can be a fan, a tape of ocean sounds, or whatever your preference may be. The idea is not to hear the comings and goings of the kids. I am sure you know that the time schedule of the college student really defies nature. The only way to stay sane and to also get a good night’s sleep is to have some type of noise distraction. This way, you won’t hear 3am meal preparation or notice the ungodly hour everyone arrives home. This prevents a ton of unnecessary worry and sleep interruption.
Good luck & happy summer :)