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Aug 17, 2013

What advice would you give to a college freshman?

We knew the day would eventually get here. The day when our first child would go from elementary, middle and high school to college student. Our daughter will be attending the University of South Carolina and has opted to live at home. The incoming freshman class is the largest in the University's history with almost 5,000 students. That's a very large number, but as my husband puts it, "It's not about how many start, but how many actually finish".

Although our daughter is very intelligent and responsible, we still made it a point as parents to offer our guidance and support with her entering the adult world. Life is about to change quite a bit for her. I will no longer be packing her lunch, signing her papers or waiting in the carpool line. She will be doing things on her own. She is off to a great start as far as getting all of her business in order.

This weekend kicks off move-in day and there are various welcome activities for University students. We saw her off as she drove out of the front driveway. I won't lie, my heart sank just a bit. She's an adult and the high school days are over. With that said, this does not mean that rules no longer apply to her. We sat her down and went over our rules and expectations and she was able to voice her opinions on how she felt with everything. We spoke about many things, but here is a rundown of the main points:

  • Driving safety is essential and not negotiable. Yes, you have your own car, but that does not mean you abuse it. You don't get to pick up and go or come in as late as you please. No rides should be given to just anyone. Never let anyone drive your car unless there is an emergency situation that affects your ability to drive. No texting or phone calls while driving. We just require a simple text or phone call to let us know your whereabouts. We pay for the car, insurance, gas and phone so this is not unreasonable. Failure to comply with our simple rules results in your mother dropping you off and picking you up. 
  • Personal safety is another very important matter. Always be aware of your surroundings. Have your mace in hand when walking through the parking garage. Beware of who you associate with. Report anything that you know isn't right by law to campus police. Stay in good physical shape. Eating well and exercise are essential and should be taken seriously. You never know when you have to move quickly out of harm's way! 
  • Not everyone is your friend! With the social media age comes "friendships" formed online. You don't know the real person just by his/her updates, tweets or Instagram pics. Stick with the people you know throughout the first year. Look at students you KNOW who are going into their second or third year for tips and advice that can be helpful. Not all advice is good advice. When in doubt, ask your parents. 
  • Your social media presence is your digital resume. Watch what you post and the types of comments you leave on posts. Future employers scour through all social media sites to dig up what they can about you. Be mindful of that! It takes one suggestive picture to potentially tarnish your good name and even mess up your future. 
  • Always have cash on hand. As easy as it is to use a debit card, it is not always the smartest choice. Around the college, there are dozens of businesses that sell products primarily to college students. With advanced technology in place, stealing your money has become so easy. Anyone can get access to the debit/credit card readers that attach to a smart phone/iPhone. You never know if someone is swiping your card behind your back! You have fewer worries with cash.
  • DO NOT APPLY FOR CREDIT CARDS.  Buying on credit that you can't pay back ruins your financial future. On top of this, opening up several credit cards can hurt your credit, even without spending on credit. Avoiding credit malpractice is not hard, there are plenty of student resources available online that aim to about credit cards. For instance, did you know that your credit status is repairable no matter how ruined it is? It won’t happen overnight though. For now, pay with cash. You can slowly work your way up to establishing credit in a smart and organized way.
  • We are here to help out if there is a NEED. Parties, sporting events and dining out will not be on our dime. 
  • Of course we touched on the drugs, alcohol and sex topic. She hated it, but what can you do?
In the end of our conversation, we stressed how proud we are of her and that we just her to be happy and successful. We let he know that we are always around and are happy to lend our advice and support. Our daughter felt our rules were reasonable and has agreed to comply. Maybe it was the part about having her mother pick her up and drop her off? Hahaha! We feel like she will do well and sets very high standards for herself. 

If you have any advice you would give to a college freshman, what would it be? Do you have any advice for the parents as well? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

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1 comment

  1. good advice. our daughter is in her second year and will be taking the car! not thrilled with that. Your advice is great! perfect timing.

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