A couple of days ago I sat with my daughter over lunch, and this feeling tapped me on my shoulder. It was a familiar feeling but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Right now, as I sat down to write this post, it came to me. It was the same feeling I’d felt as I entered the last 4 weeks before her due date. And here we are, 18 years later – four weeks or so to go before we board a plane (blasted checked baggage fees) and head north, where I get to see all of the previous 18 years’ worth of blood, sweat and tears manifest through my offspring. My baby’s not a baby anymore and off to college!
My have things changed since I was prepping to fly across the Atlantic for my post-secondary education experience. Besides the fact I’m eternally grateful that social media and camera phones didn’t exist back then, I’m glad I had that experience and can now compare notes with my daughter. It’s even better when she listens to me!
For instance, when it came to meal plans, I told her to choose the highest level for the first semester and gauge usage, then change accordingly but not to miss that deadline. The state of New York still requires a certain amount of meals/meal plan for resident students, but I find that once one gets acclimated, there are times when dining hall isn’t going to happen. My kid’s school gives first year students a choice of 3 or 2 meals per day, then they can adjust. And she gets a guest meal allowance (new to me), and I think there’s an off-campus dining option included as well. Spiffy.
One thing I’m super glad I did was booked hotels near her top 3 schools back in March. Once she made a decision, I cancelled the other two. And even though I was a good 8 months ahead of check-in, I still had a hard time finding a room. Her school has 2 hotels ON campus and they were already sold out; I imagine the international students who have orientation the week before we do snagged their rooms even earlier than I did. Anyhoo, shout out to my connect on the Embassy Suites reservation; it’ll be nice to have more than the average hotel room space, free breakfast AND free happy hour :-). Turns out, this location is also a “proud partner” of the school. Again. Spiffy.
The rental car’s booked, just have to get the plane tickets now. Like. This is real. We’ve already staked out where the Target is – she’s setting up a registry and we will arrange for pick-up there – and the distance between the stores and campus. We have a list of restaurants featured on different Food Network shows we’re going to invade, I mean… visit.
I’ll be staying longer than, as the orientation booklet puts it, the “parents, family & friends are strongly encouraged to leave at this time” time frame, because my ticket costs less staying 7 days as opposed to 4. And by less, I mean half. And nope, I won’t spend more on hotel and meals than originally anticipated, because guests included on meal plan and Groupon and such. Winning. I have plans to do a little sightseeing, a little writing, and a little getting used to my baby being a legit grown up. And I’m going to let you all in on a little bit of it! 😉
CBT Baggage Claim conveyor belt