Off to College: Cousins Compare Notes


In this post my cousin Janna shares how she's getting organized for sending her daughter off to college. 

School is coming up fast. For the past year, we’ve been organizing, planning and anticipating what will be a milestone.

Unlike previous years, I won’t listen for the bus at the bottom of our hill – my husband and I will be driving our own bus (ur-a-bus, or Subaru spelled backwards), and our daughter Kate east over the Cascades to Missoula and the University of Montana.

Despite the new location, there are many similarities with her first day of Kindergarten, thirteen years earlier. Back then, we carefully studied our school options and made decisions with her best interests in mind. Now, she’s plotting her own course.

We’re nervous and excited all at the same time.

The first time she rode the bus to school, standing with her at the bus stop a half a block down our hill, was almost agony. Now school is 480 miles and a time zone away. Just like elementary school, we’ve been through orientation (3 jam-packed days worth!), and as then, we’ve met some wonderful people who will surely become lifelong friends. Once again, we’ve bought back-to-school supplies. But instead of pencils and filler paper, now she’ll need a microwave oven, bedding, and her own computer printer.

Unlike grade school, she won’t be coming home every afternoon.

It’s often said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Things are indeed changing. Our little girl is growing up and ready to strike out on her own. But a lot will stay the same too.

We’ll always be here for her, as will her room, her favorite stuffed animals and memories of her childhood.

We’ll continue to encourage her to explore, to love to learn, learn to love, spread her wings and be confident and independent. We’re just as proud of her now as we were that very first day of Kindergarten.

- Janna