Happy Mother’s Day! At Go Financial Aid, we are committed to sharing sound financial advice with college students and their families. However, we do like to talk about college as a whole sometimes, and with today’s holiday, it seems like the perfect opportunity. But where to start? Well, it seems that all mothers have at least one thing in common: worry. Our families do wonder about more than how to get FAFSA money, so let’s take a few minutes and talk about some of the things that moms worry about when they send their children to college.
The Little Things
Students, when you head off to school, be it freshman year or senior year, mom is going to worry about whether you packed enough undies, if you’re eating enough and if you know how to find your classrooms. She’s going to bite her nails over if you got enough sleep, and if not, whether you will sleep right through your alarm (Ok, moms…That one may happen a few times, but we really do try to avoid it!). They will worry that if you get sick, who will be there to take care of you? Moms, find some comfort in the fact that your child’s school has a health services office; which at the very least can dispense aspirin and cough syrup. It’s not momma’s chicken soup, but it’ll do.
The Big Things
Moms, you know a million things run through your mind when Sally or Tommy goes away to school. Given the recent history of school tragedies, moms have legitimate concerns about campus safety and the well-being of their students. These days, colleges have carefully implemented safety measures for the security of their students. It’s very common to have text message alerts in case of campus-wide issues. Just this spring, The University of Pittsburgh experienced a rash of bomb threats to several of its main academic halls. Email and text message alerts were utilized very heavily and ensured that all students were aware of current concerns. In the case of personal emergencies, college campuses also scatter emergency phones throughout the grounds, easily noticeable by their bright blue lights. One touch of a button will dial 911 (or, depending on the school, at least campus police).
Of course all moms worry about the D-word: drinking. It happens at every university, and along with parties. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do about that when the student is at school and mom’s at home. Schools have ways to deal with this, however. If a drinking party is happening on-campus, university police officers are there to deal with underage violations and other emergent situations. Many schools also require first-year students to attend a one-credit course designed to familiarize them with the college experience. Such courses do in fact cover those hard subjects of drinking and legal/health repercussions of engaging in such activities. Lower class students are usually assigned to dry housing, which allows no alcohol whatsoever, and universities offer counseling services for students who have developed dependency problems.
Yes, students, mom wants you to keep your grades up. Let’s face it, going off to college means having more freedom than ever before. BUT that’s no reason to let performance suffer. Most schools have academic support, which includes study advice as well as tutoring services in subjects like writing, math and science. Perhaps, too, that students have legitimate reasons for low academic performance, such as a longer and more difficult struggle adjusting to college life. This results in anxiety and depression, and counseling services are available for all.
College is a tough transition for all involved. And as one mom put it, “I do feel sad when I walk by his empty room.” But ultimately, amidst all the anxiety and worry that moms feel, a major realization that occurs to all of them: how happy they are to have their child, how their child is out bettering him/herself, and that in the long haul they will be just fine.