Those of you with daughters graduating from high school this year are facing a maelstrom of activity and emotions. There are graduation festivities to organize, forms to fill out, plans to solidify and the countdown of days before your girl leaves home. If you're like most, you're in a state of awe, upset and terror. On the one hand, you have the feeling school can't start soon enough. On the other, you know you'll cry all the way home after dropping your daughter off at her dorm.
The month before my own daughter left for her freshman year in college, I sank into three weeks of depression and I couldn't figure out exactly what I was so sad about. My daughter was still at home. She was still demanding, still making messes all over the house and generally driving me crazy. Furthermore, her senior year in high school had been a real workout; I was exhausted from parenting my teenage girl! Didn't I need a break and wasn't I looking forward to it?
Eventually, a wise and experienced friend a few years my senior told me I was depressed because I knew deep down that my daughter was leaving home—really leaving home—and our relationship would never be the same. But sad or not, I knew that despite my daughter's enthusiasm about college, she was probably as nervous as I was upset. So I had to rise to the occasion and pull myself up by my bootstraps. This was no time to lose my bearings as senior adviser—I had advice I needed to give.
College campuses are worlds unto themselves, and the communities they provide for our kids are shaping and significant. They make lifelong friends, learn new and exciting things about the world and often meet the person they'll end up loving more than anyone they've ever known. This is big stuff. Giving our young adult daughters good advice is important, and we need to provide this advice with insight and humor—otherwise, they won't listen to or remember anything we say. Get the four things you must tell your daughter before she goes to college