January 20, 2018

Saying good-bye to … your student

Petula Wright - Say Goodbye to your Student

When summer break began this year I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I thought I wouldn’t be seeing much of my college student because she’d planned on traveling, moving into her apartment and doing a couple of other things that didn’t include me. (Yes, I was pouting.) Now that I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her this summer I do not want her to go back to school for the fall.

What’s this first-time college mom to do as the time draws closer for her student to return to school?

  • Redirect my attention: Each time she talks about needing to be at school; I conveniently can’t hear her.
  • Ignore her: If she asks for something she needs in order to get ready for school I pretend like I can’t hear her.

See the trend here?

And my favorite:

  • Cry: Every time she talks about her impending departure I distract her by wailing loudly… and because of the noise I can’t hear her.

In all seriousness there are some things you can do to make the transition from summer vacation easier on you and your college student regardless of whether it’s their first year or their fourth:

  • Make time to hang out and talk. Now that Amber is a junior she doesn’t specifically tell me about her courses and schedules so I’ll ask her questions about the upcoming year. It helps her by showing I’m interested in her life and it helps me to feel connected. Do this before your student leaves for campus.
  • Schedule get-togethers. Since my schedule is flexible, Amber and I don’t normally have to officially schedule events and activities too far in advance. We acknowledge that we want to get together and she normally lets me know which holidays she’s going to come home. If there is something she definitely wants me to put on my schedule and prepare to travel to her campus she lets me know in advance so I can make arrangements for her siblings or get other things in order. Try to schedule something specific at least twice per semester.
  • Enjoy your adult. This is one I do most of all. I’m confident that I’ve raised a responsible young lady and I let her take the lead when it comes to her life. I’m not a helicopter parent and I haven’t dropped off the grid; I’ve established an adult parenting relationship that we both enjoy.

Admittedly, this summer Amber and I have been through quite a lot in our personal and home lives, and there have also been a lot of changes. These things have brought us closer and increased my dislike of her leaving again for the fall. I find comfort in the fact that I’ll “see” her on Facebook, “talk” to her on text and that she keeps up with home by following my blog, It’s a woman’s world!

How are you going to say goodbye to your student?

Check out my moving day tips in Keep it Movin’.

Petula Wright
First-time college mom

About the Author: Petula Wright (23 Posts)

Petula Wright has about 17 years experience as an editor and writer who has written and provided editorial services for publications, organizations and individuals. Based in the Atlanta area, she continues to write web content and maintain her blog It’s a woman’s world at PetulaW.com. She says, “Writing is a joy and not a job.” If you need a writer or editor, she can be reached at petulawrites@comcast.net.


  1. Thanks, T, for coming by, commenting and complimenting! 🙂

    Congratulations are getting through degree number one!

    You know, you have an excellent point: It would be less stressful on students if they didn’t have to worry about all of the chores/things that you listed. At least it would free up some time, right? My oldest goes to school two hours away and has recently moved into her first apartment. I think the presence of three very young siblings was a good motivator for her to move a little ways from home. 🙂

    Yes, there are more stories to come for both of us! Should be interesting the second time around.

  2. Good article. Compliments from a mother of three – the first a University grad now going for her Masters. I paid the way for the first degree but can’t swing it for the next one.

    We hang out often enough but not too often to cramp her style. Just like her brothers, she’s willing to hang with mother in public, attending concerts, etc. as long as there’s a free meal involved.

    How am I going to say goodbye to my student? Well, she is still living at home while going to school. That’s okay by me. She can stay as long as she needs to … to complete her degree.

    I think it’s easier on them if they have less stress or distractions with worrying about cooking, laundry, cleaning, working part time and… studying. She wants to move out on her own but can’t afford it yet. Well, perhaps she should have spent more time with a job than getting distracted on NeoPets this summer! Kids will be kids – even at 22 years old.

    I’ll have more to share when child #2 decides on his path to higher learning.

    Wishing you luck with your writing and editing gigs.


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