May is the time of year of high-school graduations, new beginnings and bitter sweet endings! You and your child might feel a little overwhelmed by the excitement of your child’s graduation and the upcoming prospect of her leaving for college.
You are not alone. It is a fun time full of happiness and some sadness. Cherish every moment and plan with your child for the new upcoming school year. Here are some tips for you and your child.
Health and Safety
Dear Parent: Remember to make an appointment with her pediatrician and get her immunizations up to date. She might need boosters. Ask in particular about shots for meningococcal disease, HPV and the flu. College students live in close surroundings and study together. Sickness can spread quickly.
Talk to her pediatrician about obtaining healthcare while your child is at school. It might be time to get a referral for a family practitioner for your child when she is home on break or during the summer.
Your pediatrician’s office is also a great resource for immunization records and other documentation. Once on campus, your child should plan a trip to locate the Student Health Center and get familiar with hours and scheduling an appointment. It is better to know the logistics when she is well versus when she is sick. Remember to provide the family insurance card and don’t forget to transfer medicine refills to a local pharmacy if that is so desired.
For more information about common health problems at college: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/young-adult/Pages/Health-Care-for-College-Students.aspx
Responsible Behavior on College Campus
Dear College Bound Student: College life is fun, busy and can be very stressful. Plan to treat your classes as a forty-hour work week. You will quickly learn that you will have lots of free time during the day. This is a good opportunity to study. Class time is very different than high school. Much of your learning will occur by studying by yourself or in small groups. Although it might be obvious you will probably need to read the textbooks to be successful. Colleges also have many resources dedicated to your success so seek them out!
There are so many activities and intramural sports and clubs which can be great ways to mitigate stress and meet people. Try not to be overwhelmed. Colleges have resources to help with emotional stress too.
Drink responsibly if you are of age and never drink and drive! Seriously.
You might want to read about on campus drinking: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/young-adult/Pages/Drinking-Responsibly-at-College.aspx
Parent and College Bound Student: Plan to communicate. As a parent you don’t want to hover but you certainly want to stay connected. Plan to text daily or call weekly. Quick calls after classes and walking back to the dorm can be a perfect opportunity to catch up and hear each other’s voices. Plan a chance to get together and enjoy a meal. College students always love a homecooked meal or a meal out.
Good luck to you and your student. Enjoy the journey and we at Pediatric Partners of Virginia are always here to help!