Last week we talked about how to survive the dreaded back to school shopping. Or not dreaded, depending on how ready you are for your kids to go back to school. This week, I thought we would focus more on our older kids and how to survive going off to college.

Going away to college can be both an exciting and scary time for young adults. This is a time when you start to escape the rules of your parents and start to set your own rules as an adult. It becomes your responsibility to make sure you get up in time for class, that you actually go to class, and that you study. You get to make the choice to eat cookies in bed at 2am or skip class and binge watch Netflix all afternoon.

By keeping these do’s and don’ts in mind, hopefully you will be able to find a healthy balance between all the fun and hard work that college has to offer.


  • Do Go To Orientation! I grew up in the White Lake area, so going to a campus with multiple buildings and thousands of students was pretty nerve-wracking. Sure, it might be a boring way to spend a few hours of your day, but I can think of better ways to spend my time than wandering around campus looking for a particular building. Trust me, you are not too cool to skip it.
  • Do Go To Class! I’m not saying that you need to go to every single class, every single day. For goodness sake, if you’re sick, please stay home. You should, however, make it a point to actually go to class. You never know when a professor will announce an extra credit assignment or a pop quiz.
  • Do Get Involved! If a club or group sounds interesting to you; try it out. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll discover that it’s not for you.
  • Do Establish a Routine: Find what works best for you. If you’re a night owl, you probably should avoid taking all early morning classes. Part of being an adult means learning to manage your time wisely. Make a point to wake up and go to bed around the same time every day.
  • Do Avoid The Freshman 15! Yes, the freshman 15 is a real thing. It’s not a unicorn or some other mythological creature. If you go out to eat, don’t stuff yourself. Instead, eat until you are comfortable and take the leftovers home with you to eat for another meal. If you have roommates; share your food costs and take turns cooking meals if you are lucky enough to have a kitchen. Stay active and drink more water.  Soda contains empty calories, which can make you feel full. Plus, it’s expensive.  Buy yourself a nice reusable water bottle and drink tap water. (If you have to, invest in a water purification system.) Not only is tap water free, but you’ll be helping to protect the environment.
  • Do Call Home Regularly! Remember kids, this isn’t just a new chapter for you, but also for your family. Whether or not you realize it, this is hard for them and they will miss you.
  • Do Stick To Your Values! Don’t worry; this isn’t a lecture in what to do and not do while at college.  You know the difference between what is right and wrong. Don’t compromise your values.



  • Don’t Ask to Use The Bathroom! Unless you want your classmates to laugh at you and ridicule you, don’t raise your hand to ask permission. If you have to leave the classroom for some reason, just quietly get up and leave.
  • Don’t Forget To Wear Flip-Flops In The Shower! Again, I’ve personally never had the pleasure of living in the dorms, but I’ve heard many horror stories from other people.  Foot fungus is not your friend.
  • Don’t Walk In Late To Class! Try to make it a point to arrive to class on time. You never know what important information was given out in the first few minutes. Life happens; we’ve all been there. You forget to set your alarm, or the bus was late. If you do find yourself running late to class, do not walk into the front of the lecture hall 20 minutes late if you can help it. If there is a side or back entrance, use it. If there isn’t, try to be as quiet as possible as you make your way to your seat.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things! This is a time when you have so many opportunities available to you. You’ve already made the decision to go to college; something that you’ve probably never done before, so step out of your comfort zone a little more. Explore your campus and your city. Go to school sporting events. Whatever sounds remotely interesting; try it.

Even if you completely disregard all of these tips, please hear this last thing;

Enjoy The Experience! You don’t have to have it all figured out in the first semester. If you don’t know what you want your major to be, that’s ok! Try new things, meet new people and have fun! Just not too much fun!