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  • Writer's pictureadam thompson

Off to College

As a parent, it's never easy to see your child grow up and leave the nest. This fall, my daughter will be going off to college, (University of West Florida- Go Argonauts!), and although I'm proud of her and excited for this next chapter in her life, I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic and apprehensive.

For the past eighteen years, my daughter has been a constant presence in my life. From the sleepless nights of infancy to the teenage drama of high school, we've been through it all together. And now, as she prepares to leave for college, I'm left with a mix of emotions.

On one hand, I'm excited for my daughter to have the opportunity to explore new interests, meet new people, and gain new experiences. I'm proud of all the hard work she's put in to get to this point and can't wait to see what she'll accomplish in the future. And I'm grateful that we live in a world where higher education is available to so many young people, including my daughter.

I spent the last 20 years in the Air Force. Of those 20 years, I deployed 8 times (over a year total day gone alone), various temporary duty assignments (TDYs), (probably another year or two cumulative). And now that I’m retired from the military, I’m still not getting that time back because she’s leaving home. There are no regrets in this paragraph, just outlining the cost of my time spent in service.

So, how do we cope with this major life change? Here are a few things that I'm doing to prepare for my daughter's departure:

  1. Spend quality time together: Spend some quality time together doing things we both enjoy before she leaves. Making memories will last a lifetime.

  2. Stay connected: We can maintain contact even if she is away at college. We'll FaceTime on a regular basis, send care packages, and visit whenever possible.

  3. Focus on the positive: Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of her college experience, we will try to concentrate on the positive aspects. Consider all the new experiences and opportunities when will have, and how proud I am for her taking this step. If you have any college stories, you can share them. Find other similarities if, like me, you completed all your college coursework online.

  4. Keep busy: It's important to keep busy while she is away. Her mother and I will continue to pursue our interests, spend time with friends and family, and focus on our own personal growth.

As a parent, watching your child go off to college is bittersweet. It's a sign that they're growing up and becoming independent, but it's also a reminder that they won't be around as much anymore. By staying connected, focusing on the positive, and keeping busy, we can make the transition a little easier for everyone involved.


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