Having a Child Move Out to College — Episode 164

sending a kid to college

Today we’re chatting about my 2nd son’s entry into college. Both the admissions process and actually moving out and going to college.

In this episode

Tips for parents during the admissions process

Tips for parents for when kids move in.

Other things that might interest you

What is the hardest age to parent?

Why my kids hate me, and that’s OK.

Saving for college

Producer: Drew Erickson

Check out my other parenting podcasts:

It is so important that the kids realize that they are in charge of their own lives.
[00:00:00.130] – Hilary Erickson

Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 164, we are talking about my recent move out. My son that entered his freshman year of college. We’re going to untangle all of that, so stay tuned.

[00:00:23.490] – Hilary Erickson

Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast: pregnancy and parenting untangled. There’s no right answer for every family, but on this show, we hope to give you some ideas to make life simpler at your house. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.

[00:00:45.610] – Hilary Erickson

All right. Some of you lucky junior moms, junior or senior, a lot of times it starts to kick in their junior year are eyeing college admissions about this time of year. And today I wanted to talk about our journey through both the admission process and having to move out. I am recording this right after he moved out.

[00:01:07.010] – Hilary Erickson

But first, I want to say that this episode is more about me and my feelings, not so much about my kid, even though it may come across that way in the episode. So I wanted to tell you five amazing things about this kid before we get started so that you don’t just think crappy things about him. So, first off, he has got a great voice. He was in choir last year and, like, they’re madrigals. He was the lead in the school play.

[00:01:33.320] – Hilary Erickson

They did Legally Blonde and he was florist, did an amazing job. Like, he is a great singer. He is super funny. We are very like in that way. And he often sells some of the best jokes ever.

[00:01:44.850] – Hilary Erickson

He’s just super funny and super quick to come up with a joke as well. And he also takes jokes from other people really well, which I think is super important. If you’re going to be funny, you got to take it, too. He actually self regulated really well. In high school, I rarely had to be on top of him with homework, which wasn’t always the case with maybe other children that I have.

[00:02:04.160] – Hilary Erickson

And so that was really nice. He had great grades in high school because he really was on top of things. And the final thing is he’s ridiculously smart. He understands math in a way that I do not understand math. Sometimes when we do, like, logic problems or Sudoku’s together, I’m like, so that’s how your brain works.

[00:02:20.210] – Hilary Erickson

It’s very different than mine. So those are five things. I mean, the kid is amazing. He’s great. If you knew him, you’d love him. And normally on episodes, I don’t like, say which child I’m talking about since I have three, but it would be difficult to not know which child I’m talking about since he’s the one that just went to college.

[00:02:36.600] – Hilary Erickson

So we’ll rewind this to Hilary, pre-kids going to college. My husband and I actually met in college, and my dad taught there. He was a vice president and a dean there. My brother actually teaches there now.

[00:02:50.590] – Hilary Erickson

Like I just always kind of thought our kids would go to the same university, right? That’s just how I envision things. But my first child actually didn’t get into that university, which ended up being a really good a thing. It was not a good spot for him, and so I was really glad that he actually went to the university that he did end up going to. By the way, he graduated last May, but as this one was applying, he had an amazing act score, like a 34.

[00:03:19.910] – Hilary Erickson

His GPA was like a three eight seven, and had taken all AP classes, had just done really well in high school, and so I was like, he’ll probably get it. So I was reading his essays. He’s not a great writer, which is hard for me. First child is a pretty good writer, and he doesn’t take edits well because he’s smarter than everyone. So we were trying to polish them.

[00:03:42.130] – Hilary Erickson

My dad helped me, and I tried to help him with his college essays, and he was getting upset, and I ultimately was just like, this is the essay he wants to submit. So I thought they were okay. I didn’t think they were as polished as I would have loved. By the way, I am not a great academic writer. I got in trouble a lot in college for the way that I wrote, which I find very amusing now.

[00:04:04.370] – Hilary Erickson

But, I mean, we submitted “okay” essays. I mean, I figured with those act and the GPA, we would just get in, but he did not get in. And I will say, if those of you who know what university it is, it does feel like a slap in the face from this particular university, which is also run by our church. And so I could see that on him. It almost feels like a rejection from the church at the same time that you don’t get into the school, because it seemed like he was such a shoe-in with the GPA and the grades.

[00:04:30.930] – Hilary Erickson

But we already knew that he was into our local university, which is actually the same one that my first son went into. He had their highest scholarship, and then he actually ended up getting a second scholarship from a local nonprofit, and we knew that he was just going to go there. I think those are the only two that he applied to, and it was a strong second. It has a great program or what he’s doing, and so he ended up going to the second university, but ultimately bringing this back to me. I kind of had to grieve on both kids for what I thought they were going to do, right?

[00:05:03.590] – Hilary Erickson

I mean, I did a lot of academic stuff with my kids when they were little. We read early. We love to do worksheets and flashcards together just because that’s the kind of mom that I am. I really enjoy doing those things with my kids. Like, we would sit there and I’d just be like, some days I’ll go to named university and it’ll be amazing.

[00:05:19.620] – Hilary Erickson

And that’s not where they went. Side note, my dad did ultimately go in and talk since he used to be a vice president there, to the people, and it was the essays. They said everything about him is stellar, which is interesting considering a lot of kids get their essays written for them or they hire someone to polish the essays for them. It’s frustrating that they put so much emphasis on that, especially for a kid that’s majoring in engineering. Like, yes, he can communicate pretty well orally. He just is not a great essay writer.

[00:05:45.180] – Hilary Erickson

So I still have one more that’ll probably apply. We’ll see how she does. So anyway, I think it’s okay to grieve what you thought was going to be, and I think a lot of people feel guilty because if your child’s born with a cleft lip or just some anomaly, a lot of times parents grieve the silly, perfect baby that they had in their mind, and that’s okay. It’s okay not to just focus on all the other parts of them that are awesome.

[00:06:08.020] – Hilary Erickson

It’s okay to be upset by how you thought it was going to be and how it’s different. So I just wanted to put it out there that I had to grieve over the fact that their future wasn’t exactly what I thought and it was going to look like. But we just moved him in, and I think that’s something that a lot of people wonder about. And I’ve actually been in this university’s parents group, which has been really amusing. A personal favorite is somebody who asked if you could hook a water softener to the shower head in the bathroom.

[00:06:35.050] – Hilary Erickson

And I was just like, that’s a big priority for me. Anyway, it’s just interesting what parents are worried about. And I also have to tell you that my kid, if he wanted to be a real pioneer, could walk home from his dorm. It would be like 10 miles, but he could do it, I guess, if he really wanted to. But I don’t have the experience of sending a kid to a university far away.

[00:06:55.670] – Hilary Erickson

And I also don’t have the experience of going to a university far away from my parents because I also walked home from my dorm room a couple of times. So I just want to put that out there that I think I would probably feel different if he was going even an hour away. It’s probably about 20 minutes because of traffic. So I do have five tips for college move in. Number one is to not kill them before you get there.

[00:07:17.410] – Hilary Erickson

Now, a lot of you are going to be really judgy because I should miss him, he should want to be here. But as we got later into senior year and throughout the summer, I just had a vision that I had created like this hawk who was so ready to leave the nest, right? He knew how to hunt, he knew how to fly. Well, he was so ready. But I had to hold that hawk down until the time that he could move out would be the thing.

[00:07:45.130] – Hilary Erickson

But until the time he was ready, right? Which means as you are holding a hawk, you are going to get hurt, your eyes going to get poked out, your hands going to get crunched by their talents. Like they are ready to go and they are just hitting at you anyway. That’s how I envisioned it. We really aim to create kids that are ready to get out on their own and be successful on their own.

[00:08:05.080] – Hilary Erickson

But in doing that, we create kids that are ready to be on their own. And that’s not always fun to be around. So we just had a rough summer. He wasn’t very fun to be around. We weren’t enjoying it.

[00:08:15.400] – Hilary Erickson

So he was ready to move out. I was ready to have him move out. And so I think a lot of parents, as kids start to be ready to move out, have this balanced feeling of, I’m so sad that they’re leaving and that our time together is over. But also, please get out because you’re horrible kind of a feeling. And you guys can judge me all you want.

[00:08:33.610] – Hilary Erickson

I’m sure there are some of you sitting out there like, I will never feel that way, or I have never felt that way, and that is awesome. But I just want to be really honest with the feelings that I have been having. We were all ready for a change. Second thing is to let them buy their items, right? If you’re going to give them money to purchase the items, or if you’re going to purchase the items, I would give them the money so that they can really start to make good choices with money as they are moving out.

[00:09:00.170] – Hilary Erickson

This child had worked for me, had saved quite a lot of money. He had previously been my video editor, and so he had enough money to buy the things that he needed for college. And I really let him. He bought his own laptop. He figured it out with his brother.

[00:09:12.820] – Hilary Erickson

I don’t want him coming back to me saying, this isn’t a laptop. I don’t like this laptop, because that’s happened before. I’m just going to say but I also think that every now and then I would just like, kind of rattle off a list of things that I thought were important, like body wash, shampoo, like, things that they easily would forget, hangers. I encourage all my kids to get like, a plastic shelving unit to go in their closet. And also because we had another kid who had already been in the dorm, I encouraged him to reach out to him and get some information from him as well.

[00:09:43.090] – Hilary Erickson

So that was super helpful. But also making sure that they are in charge of this move in process. Right. I just figured that I was a hired helper and he was in charge of everything. And I really like at our university that they split off the parents from the kid and the kid.

[00:09:58.140] – Hilary Erickson

I mean they’re an adult, but they’re also a kid goes, they pick up their key, they pick up their mail thing, they pick up the slip or moving, all those different kinds of things and the parents just kind of sit over there and twiddle their thumbs while they’re gone. But I really like that they do that because it’s so important that kids realize that they are in charge of their own lives. And I think the more that you can do that as they’re setting up to leave, the better. Right? My fifth thing is to just kind of walk away and let them do their thing.

[00:10:22.720] – Hilary Erickson

I try to make sure that their bedding is out and on the bed I help them set up the shelves. But then after that I really let them kind of move in on their own because if I move them and it would look very different, like there would be a lot of organization systems that they may or may not use. And so I was just like, do you feel good with the way things are? Are you ready for us to go? And he said, yeah.

[00:10:43.330] – Hilary Erickson

And I said Great. We actually then went to Walmart and bought a picked up a few things, but then he went back up to his dorm and he got to organize all of it. Again, we are close by so I don’t have as many worries as a parent who’s far away. But in reality, Amazon can help your kids out with a lot of things if there is an emergency. So the first thing that I would recommend is to just take a deep breath, right?

[00:11:04.720] – Hilary Erickson

You might be feeling emotions of I can’t believe they’re leaving, this is horrible. Or you might be having emotions like me where you’re like, get out, I can’t even stand you to be around. You take a deep breath from all of the emotion, right. And it’s hard seeing that kid go off and do their own thing. You don’t know how they’re going to do at it.

[00:11:22.900] – Hilary Erickson

Right. You spend all this time just like pouring in so much effort to them into being an adult and then all of a sudden it’s all on them, which can be really overwhelming as a parent. And I think part of that is the emotion that parents feel beyond missing them. They’re just really worried that are they going to succeed? How are things going to go?

[00:11:41.770] – Hilary Erickson

But ultimately it really is up to them. Anyway, that was our moving experience. Once again, I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there thinking, I missed my kid, I was suicidal. Once they left my house. I’m not at that place at all.

[00:11:53.460] – Hilary Erickson

I will say that when we were walking up to the campus for him to get his key, there was a big arch that we were going to walk under and I got just like a little bit teary eyed just as we went under the arch because it is a big change. They’re moving out. That period of your life where you have so much influence and DayToday exposure with them is over and now they’re moving on to college. That being said, I know that he’s going to be home for a month over Christmas and he’ll probably be home next summer, and so I need to just kind of be prepared for what’s going to come then. So that was our move in admissions, all that kind of process.

[00:12:28.930] – Hilary Erickson

I would love to extend this chat over onto Instagram. You can yell at me there that I’m a horrible mom that doesn’t miss my kid. One other thing is I try not to badger them with texting. I try and just like every day or so just be like, how are things going? What did you do today?

[00:12:44.180] – Hilary Erickson

And hopefully they respond because you don’t have a lot of control over that either. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Let’s extend the conversation over onto Instagram. I would love to know what you guys think or if your feelings were different. Please tell me.

[00:12:56.590] – Hilary Erickson

Do not miss next week’s episode where we are talking about what happens at delivery with one of my favorite online labor and delivery nurses. And then the next week we are headed back to babyville. We are talking about playing with your newborn with my friend Ally. And that’s going to be a really fun episode as well. Not so much for the moms of teens, but, you know, pulling curls. We can’t just stick to any one topic. See you then.

[00:13:17.370] – Hilary Erickson

Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. The pulling podcast grows when you share us on social media or leave a review. If you do, please tag us so that we can share and send you a virtual hug, which frankly, is my favorite kind of hugging. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.

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