Parents: How to Make Your Freshman Proud at University Parents’ Weekend

Ibex College.jpeg

The little apple of your eye is off to college! There she (or he) is – making decisions, living independently, expanding her mind…and calling every other day because the “real” world is such a bigger place than she realized.

Your college student is excited to have you visit. After a few tenuous years of adolescence, they’re likely coming to terms with the fact that they actually like having you in their life. They miss you. But, let’s be real. They’re also looking forward to a meal in good restaurant, the ability to say goodnight at 10 pm before they go out with friends, and some pre-winter shopping.

Freshman college weekend is not so far removed from the times when you could mortify your child by your mere presence. But this time, you’re mingling with their new friends – friends you haven’t known since they were in kindergarten together. As much as your son or daughter wants to see you, they also may need some difficult-to-articulate background support. Here’s how you can be a rock star at Parent’s Weekend:

Listen. This is more important than any of the other tips we’ve collected.

When listening turns to action, here are some fun follow-ups:

1. Let your kid pick the restaurant. They may have a craving they can’t afford or have “local” beta on the hottest place in town. Bonus point: Invite their new friend whose parents couldn’t make it.

2. Share your itinerary in advance. Don’t surprise them with your insightful line of questions as you audit their Human Sexuality 101 seminar.

3. Plan to be back at the hotel early-ish. Some kids may opt to stay at your hotel and indulge in bubble bath not available in the shared dorm shower rooms. Others may want to meet friends and revel in the joys of being young and independent.
4. Drive somewhere. Going on a drive is an ideal opportunity to remove the pressures of being a new college student and temporarily insulate your family unit in your own space.
5. Bring a surprise. This isn’t as superficial as it sounds and you don’t need to go overboard. When everyone is on a budget, a small token of something your child couldn’t otherwise afford reminds them of how much they appreciate you.
6. Bring food. Homemade goodies or yummy, non-perishable surprises for a dorm room will have them feeling the love long after you’ve left.
7. Accessories. If everyone on campus is sporting spendy or trendy jackets that break your budget, don’t succumb. Help your student express some individuality with fashion-forward pieces that don’t break the bank.
  • We’re loving the Ibex Hand Warmers for $10. Perfect for cold library corners and crisp fall days.
  • A Circle Scarf or Moss Scarf instantly creates several new outfits from a small, dorm-sized wardrobe.
  • Send a link to Ibex’s Hat-O-Matic Visualizer and let your 18-year old choose if they’re a slouchy beanie or structured sophisticated type.
  • Necessities. Moved from Arizona to an ivy league in Boston?* Your freshmen may be rapidly realizing they need some warm weather gear.
  • Pick up some Woolies striped base layers in their school colors: subtle, but fun.
  • Think layers. Students go from running or cycling across campus to sitting for an hour in an overheated room. Versatility and layering is key. The Shak FZ Classic (men’s and women’s) has style and warmth to stand alone, plus the heft and silhouette to easily layer.
  • Go big. Ibex’s new Wool Aire line provides the ultimate warmth of our new Merino wool insulation, with high compressibility and great silhouettes.

Shopping, food and goodies, notwithstanding, enjoy your time together. Four years will pass in the blink of an eye and graduation will arrive before the paint in the kid’s room-turned-home-gym is dry. Shopping and eating are fun, but ultimately, parent’s weekend is about reminding both the parent and the kids how proud you are to have influenced the other’s life.

*If you are in Boston, stop by our Newbury Street flagship store.

Ibex Girl, whose beloved 19-year old niece is a freshman in college this year