Mom, I'll be fine

Powdered donuts on the first day - Sweeeeet!

Preschool started for our  3 1/2 year old, Charles, last Monday, August 13th.  Today, August 20th, is the first day of classes at Augustana.  It does not escape my notice that the next 15 years will likely fly by and soon I will not be there to hug my “little” boy on the first day of school, to give him a last gentle reminder to “do his best.”

Some of the kids at Charles’ preschool were screaming and gripping their parents tight.  Some were cautious and timid.  Some were friendly but wide-eyed.

 They were excited, and nervous and scared and full of anticipation and imagination.  I’m not sure all those same feelings aren’t wrapped up in the students starting classes here at Augie.

As I hugged Charles goodbye on the second day of preschool, he gave me a quick hug back and said “Mom, I’ll be fine” with “fine” in that tone of voice that is a little consoling and a little patronizing (from my 3 year old!).  I can actually picture the same phrase coming out of his mouth when I hug him goodbye that first year of college.

I am grateful for one difference – and that is a

lack of cell phones for 3 year olds. I don’t receive a text or a call at every cipro without prescription minor issues at pre-school. If I have a recommendation for parents of college students, it’s to take a text hiatus (as tough as that might be) from your son or daughter. It will be better for you both if you don’t know that she’s annoyed by her roommate’s alarm or that he didn’t have someone to go to lunch with on the first day. Let you student “be fine.”If they are allowed to chronicle every infraction, it will make these adjustments

seem like issues rather than harmless transition moments.

I keep remembering Charles’ voice as we pulled up to Red Wagon on the first day “I’m going to be so excited.” Any day at a new school is exciting – it’s the beginning of the “rest of their life.” And college is where your son or daughter gets to really find out what they are going to be when they grow up. So, wipe away a tear, turn off your phone and let them “be fine.”




About meghancooley

Meghan Cooley has worked in admissions for over 15 years. She's served in a variety of roles, ranging from tour guide to admissions counselor to her most recent position as Director of Admissions and Recruitment. Through many admissions cycles - she's experienced the ebb and flow of the higher education landscape in the Midwest, become an expert on family dynamics within the college search, guided many through the details of the college search and witnessed the joy and disappointment of student college decisions.

Now, as the Director of Recruitment Communication and Manager of social media at Augustana College, Meghan and her team of talented students focus on marketing Augustana to prospective families, educating families about the college search process, and enhancing professional development opportunities in the profession. She is passionate about increasing diversity (socio-economic and ethnic) in private higher education, alleviating the fears and frustrations that often come with a college search (especially in first generation families), and above all, helping students find the best fit for them as they explore all the educational opportunities available.

Meghan often invites guest bloggers mostly including Augustana admissions staff and current students to contribute. The talented students and staff offer a perspective in the trenches of the college search and college experience.

A 1999 graduate of Augustana College, Meghan holds Bachelor's Degrees in English and Spanish. An avid international traveler, she recommends hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu in Peru, eating Gelato in Rome, Italy, and seeing an opera at the Volksoper in Vienna, Austria. She is married to Augustana graduate and Modern Woodmen project manager, Luke Cooley. They have three sons, Charles, Oliver and Bennett.
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