Visiting My Son in College

When I dropped my son Ben off at Beloit College (WI) in mid August, I left with a lot of questions.

Would he adjust well to college? Could he handle his classes? Would he make friends?  And would he tell his mom or dad if the answers to any or all of the preceding questions were  “no.”

The first positive sign from the Midwest came when Ben Skyped his 21-year-old sister in September and volunteered this news bulletin:  “I love Beloit more than life itself.”

This definitely did not sound like our cynical son, but our daughter, who is in college in Pennsylvania, didn’t retract her story.  Meanwhile, back in San Diego, most of the correspondence we got from Ben came via text messages that requested more duct tape (this is a kid who has used duct tape to make serviceable shoes, a working hammock and armor) licorice, cashews and other essentials.

My husband and I wanted to see for ourselves how Ben was doing when we visited the liberal arts college for Family and Friends Weekend. And from what we could see, Ben is thriving.

He has surrounded himself with friends. So far he is doing well in his classes. And at least until winter invades Wisconsin, he doesn’t miss San Diego’s “perfect” climate.

I know college will present challenges. He’s already experienced some, but what I’m pleased to see is that he is using his coping skills and he’s doing this without running to mom or dad.

Ben is growing up and yet he was very happy and appreciative to see us this weekend. And that is as big a gift as the bear hugs that he gave his dad and I before we drove off.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch and another for US News & World Report. Follow her on Twitter.

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  1. As a graduating senior in highschool, it’s encouraging to see that other guys are doing so well, so far away from home. I’m moving a couple thousand miles, so this is an encouragement!