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The weeks before a freshman goes off to college are nerve-wrecking, exciting, and disproportionally spent at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It is time for young adults everywhere to fly the nest and begin their own lives independent of their parents. As I step over the cusp into adulthood, here are five things I hope my mother doesn't tell me when I leave for college.
1, Don't forget to brush your teeth.
Mom, I know you are afraid that I will forget everything you've taught me, lessons both large and small, but I've been listening to you even when you thought I wasn't. It's time to trust that I will remember how to brush my teeth just like I will remember to be kind, to think before I speak, and to write thank-you notes in a timely manner. Thanks to you, these habits have been ingrained in me since birth and I wouldn't be the same without them.
2, Don't gain the Freshman 15.
You have been there to nourish me since birth. You won't be there anymore to make a batch of chile rellenos for me after a long day of school. My meals will no longer be prepared with that special seasoning you bought from our trip to Belize. Dining hall chicken fingers can't hold a candle to your arroz con pollo. Nothing can compare to a home-cooked meal. Trust me, I will lay off on the 1 a.m. pizza so I can have a second helping of your mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.
3, Don't forget to call every day.
College is a time to show you how independent I can be and I need you to acknowledge that your baby girl is all grown up, but you will be surprised at how well I can handle myself. You are not done being my mom, and I am not done being your daughter. By giving me that little bit of freedom and independence, you are giving me a chance to show you what a great mom you are and what a fantastic job you've done raising me.
3, College is where you get your MRS. degree.
Mom, I know you are only saying this because I will be far from home and you don't want me to feel lonely. I promise, there will be tons of people to look out for me. I will have friends, RAs, advisers, and, yes, maybe even a special someone to help me through thick and thin. I know it's scary having me 3,000 miles away, and even though I will get homesick, I will never actually be alone.
4, Can't wait for you to start law school.
To that I say "in due time, in due time." I know that you are excited that I will soon be picking my major, working towards a career, and considering post-graduate studies, but right now I'm just excited to be starting my first year of undergrad school. How about instead we take this time to celebrate the fact that I made it to college, take a tour to admire the beauty of the campus, browse through the course catalog and discuss the pros and cons of taking a class on the sociopolitical impact of Nirvana (the band, not the state of bliss). Let's enjoy this time together in the present instead of fretting about the future.