The Summer Before College

I am four years away from this topic (thankfully) but, my sister is going through it now. In a few short months, she will be sending her first-born off to fend for herself equipped with only the lessons she has already learned and a cell phone for constant communication. Still, it is a scary proposition. Other than crying, what do you do with the your dwindling parental control? Squeeze in absolutely everything you forgot to mention over the last 18 years, of course! Here are some facts to work off of:

According to a study by a URI Alcohol Researcher (I don’t think this job is as fun as it first sounds) teens increase their drinking in their last summer home. Don’t make the mistake of giving them too much freedom too early.

Did you see American Pie? If you haven’t had the birth control or abstinence talk before, now is the time.

Prepare them for the academic challenges ahead. The first semester often results in the lowest GPA, sometimes one from which it is hard to recover. First semester freshman year, I was way too busy figuring out my favorite shot to actually study. Other than partying, there is another reason freshmen struggle. The high school senioritis lingers, as the summer before college is considered a time to completely veg. A little relaxation is good, but you should share these articles in U.S. News for some good summer tips and for secrets to getting good grades in college.

Spend time talking about money and finances. You are already spending tens of thousands of dollars — it is time for them to take some responsibility and learn how to live on a budget. Make a plan together. If for no other reason, when you get the inevitable “Mom, Dad, I need …” call, you can refer back the plan and hold them accountable. Another good lesson is to tell them how much each class is costing you/them if they skip it.

Discuss your expectations. While you may think it goes without saying you expect good grades and no calls from the Dean of Discipline, teenagers are inherently dumb. Spell it out.

Finally, spend time together. You don’t have to splurge on the best family vacation ever. Just find something you can do together … running, walking, cooking, shopping, golfing, lying on the beach, etc. Make the time now. You won’t regret it.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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