Transitions: Back to School

*a more personal blog post

Growing up in a college town, my friends and I always had front row seats to the ebb and flow of the student population. In fall, the mass arrival. In spring, the mass exodus. And then one summer it was my family’s turn to pack our car to the gills to drop off the firstborn at college.


My dad drove the car, I rode shotgun, and my mom sat in the back. The exact travel logistics escape me other than a 4 hour drive to school consisted of also trying to find a hotel room to stay in the night before check in. Why we didn’t just leave early the next day, I’m not sure. Hotels were either booked up or too expensive for a night. So we just slept in the car of a rest stop. The quick drive the next morning consisted of sniffles from the back. At the time I wasn’t sure sure why my mom was crying, or why she even decided to come if she was going to get all emotional–that’s what I thought to myself.


Arriving to my new dorm and unpacking my belongings with my parents was a bit embarrassing, but then again everyone’s parents were doing the same thing. Of course I never thought my parents were as cool as everyone else. When my parents finally left, I felt much excitement in my new independence and freedom, the very things I had longed for embracing in my new chapter in life.


Shortly after my parents dropped me off at college, my mom decided to get a dog. My parents were not dog people, nor did they know what to really expect in raising a dog. It’s so clear to me that I was replaced by a dog, but could I really be offended with their difficulties in coping?


Transitions in life are different for everyone. For parents, the idea of the” empty nest” may be something they are looking forward to; for students, college may be exciting and frightening at the same time. Regardless of how long we have to prepare for a transition, sometimes we may be caught off guard when the moment actually arrives, or even with our delayed response after the fact.


Are you about to drop off your child off at college many hundreds of miles away? Are you a young person about to move away from home? I would love to hear your thoughts on the experience. Is your child starting kindergarten this fall? Transitions can be eased with short term counseling, consider contacting me if I can be of assistance.







* photo credit: bricksburgh


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