Only child leaving for college this summer

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2013
Only child leaving for college this summer
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:39pm


I'm new here. As my screen name indicates, I will soon have an empty nest. My daughter will be starting college this summer. I had assumed she would start in the fall like most kids do and was shocked when she told me she wanted to start this summer. She's always been ambitious and said she "just wanted to get a jump on her studies". I can't help taking it personally, though. Is she THAT anxious to get out of this house?

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself once she's gone!

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 4:50pm

I think it's eagerness to try being out on their own.  At least that's what I convinced myself of in Aug '10 when ds (also an only) decided he couldn't wait to leave.  Part of it, too, was to prove to himself that he COULD do it on his own.  He did fine, and then soph year and esp now jr year he is home more than he used to be since he knows he CAN do it on his own.

I also wasn't sure what I'd/we'd do without ds being home all the time but now sometimes we look forward to him not being there as his ins and outs were at his own schedule which ran late nights, and without him there it's so much more predictable!

DH and I do more stuff together, we each got back into hobbies we were more active in before ds was born, etc.  It's an adjustment and don't be surprised if you shed some tears but it's also rewarding to know you did a good job and that they can make it on their own!


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 8:14pm

My daughter, the baby of four, moved out the day after she gradated from high school to live with her boyfriend and start college classes. It was rough at first but just as we were beginning to enjoy theempty nest her brother and his wife separated and he moved back home. I too think they want to prove thwy can make it on their own and once they are confident pf that they are more willing to hang out at home more. We're still trying to find that empty mest. Lol after a stint in the army and 15 months of tech school our 28 1/2 y/o son is back home while he looks for a job.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 9:29am
I think it's always an adjustment when you suddenly have a house to yourself, whether it's your only going off to college or your baby, like was my case in Aug. 2010. You've poured 18 years into that child and suddenly it's a bit of a lost feeling when they no longer need you every day. I'll be the first to admit that I started crying when we dropped her off and cried the whole way home. I was so scared that something would happen and I wouldn't be there to help. My husband was a smart man and had alcohol and good chocolate waiting when we got home haha! After the first couple of days, I was ok. Missed her terribly but ok. That first year it really helped to send her mail. Every week I'd send a card, a newspaper article etc that I thought she'd like Once a month I'd do a care package. Shopping for things and planning the "theme" of the package was good therapy for me. She was super homesick and everytime she came home she would cry when it was time to go back to school. Year 2 she came home less frequently, but I was used to the empty house and was fine. We actually enjoy having the house to ourselves and joke that it's nice to not have a trail of DD through out the house (bobby pins especially). She's just now finishing year 3 and I barely see her. She is SO busy on campus and has no time. I'm happy that she loves it. Your daughter is probably so excited to get out on her own and experience college. Think about how many stories she has probably heard about college life. Keep yourself busy and enjoy her visits home! How far away will she be?
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 10:07am

Don't be surprised if you see a lot more of her than you think you will, especially if she isn't going far away.  When we dropped our DS at college, it was for a pre-orientation program.  Then we went back four days later for the official opening ceremony.  Then we saw him six weeks later for parents' weekend.  Then four weeks later for Thanksgiving.  And four weeks after that he was home for FIVE weeks between semesters.  I felt like, wait, wasn't he supposed to go AWAY? LOL!

He also texted or emailed us frequently.  He still does.  You'd be amazed how much college students still need from you.  DS is now a junior, was home for spring break in mid-March, and came home this past weekend because he needed a break from college life.  In the past month, we also communicated about next semester's classes, changing his passport, adding things to his bank account, what to do for an inflamed sternum, etc etc etc.  The tone has changed since he was a freshman, but he keeps in touch a LOT.

DD is going to be a freshman in the fall, and she'll be a quick commuter train ride away.  She totally expects me to take her out to lunch when I'm in the city every month, and she absolutely expects to come home and play with the dogs and eat her dad's amazing cooking at least once a month.  In fact, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get rid of her.

DH & I got a jump on forestalling the empty next almost two years ago by getting dogs.  People said to us, "But your youngest doesnt' go to college until 2018" - but I was already feeling anxious about not having needy things around the house.  I didn't know that the neediness of my young adults was going to continue for so long!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 10:39am

Hi and welcome to the board. As the others have mentioned you'll probably be in contact more than you think. Between cell phones, texting, Skype, Facebook, etc. communication is pretty constant these days! Our youngest went off to college in 2008 and kicked off our empty nest time with a trip to Vegas. Like Rose, we were just getting into the whole empty nest thing when he ended up back at home in 2010. He's now 23 and still here. He's hoping to join the Army but due to some poor choices he made when he was out on his own that won't happen before December. In the mean time he's looking for a job. He's done school a few times, worked full time off and on - just hasn't really found his 'niche' yet. DH and I are more than ready to be empty nesters again!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 12:43pm

The period just after high school graduation before college began was unsettling for my dds.  They were busy with high school friends and goodbyes but very uncertain about what was coming next.  Both signed up for orientation trips and my middle dd also elected to participate in an additional conference that preceded the orientation trips.  As a result, they were out of the house by the end of July/beginning of August in both cases.  Both girls were eager to get started and also eager to put the unknown behind them.

An older friend kind of waved my empty nest concerns away early on, saying, "oh, those are busy years" and as others have already pointed out, they certainly are.   The relationship changes but you are still in very close touch and there is a rhythm to the school breaks and events that keep you tied in.  I found that it changed over the four years and that by senior year of college, the contact was less but still regular.   We were still able to schedule regular family vacations too.

Now that my eldest is out of college and my second is graduating and taking a job in a different state, I can really see the difference between those college years and the years of true independence.  I'm finding that to be a harder step to take!

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 1:20pm
I do want to add a comment to my previous reply - one of the things I learned very quickly was not to ask, 'How's it going?' or anything like that as ds then felt I was checking up on him OR felt he couldn't handle things. So what was much better received was sending emails with jokes, lolcats pictures, etc. - just light things, or light newsy stuff going on at home. Or even funny memories we have of him. He was just super sensitive that first year - but has returned to his normal self since, with more mature questions or discussions than before. It's truly fun to sit back and watch and listen. Sue