As a young mother, I was often given the age-old advice “Cherish every moment. They grow up so fast.” What an understatement! As I now prepare myself for the emotional task of sending my daughter to college, I am so glad that I not only cherished every moment, but that I gave her many moments that she will cherish for a lifetime.
Sending a child to college parallels sending a child to sleepaway camp for the first time. It is an emotional rollercoaster of anxiety, excitement, pride, indecision and ultimately pure joy! I find myself looking back to my daughter’s first year as a camper and remembering the changes she went through in just a few short weeks. Her strength, independence, curiosity and willingness to try new activities was astounding. Whether it was waterskiing for the first time, or climbing the rock wall or performing in the camp theatre production, she participated in new activities each year and gained incredible confidence through these opportunities.
Now I have the confidence in knowing that wherever she goes to college, she will be an independent leader and not only strive for excellence in her studies, but also take advantage of all the extracurricular opportunities that are available.
I have spoken with many parents who feel the same way. Their child may not have been to overnight camp, but perhaps went on a community service trip, a language immersion experience, a wilderness adventure or an academic enrichment program. Whatever the experience, these parents feel that some form of summer program, away from home, helped prepare their child for a successful transition to college.
My advice to young parents is to absolutely cherish every moment but to also give your children opportunities that will allow for personal growth to prepare them for college and beyond.