Self help dvds….books…tv…and going away to college!

Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite tv shows of all time.  I can’t tell you why, like many things in my life, but I’m hooked.  Was from the beginning and am going to be sad to see it come to an end this season.  I know I am not alone…come on guys!

Well, the other night I recorded it…having people to meet, places to go, and games to see…..ugh, the Rangers lost….don’t get me started.  So, to console myself, I watched it.  It was great as usual, but a few scenes had me thinking, reminiscing, and remembering what it was like to go away to college….and all the emotions that went with that day and the night before…came rushing back to me.  It was so strange..what a weird feeling.  Good thing my kids were all in bed sleeping…because it brought tears to my eyes.  I haven’t really thought about any of this stuff since I went thru it all, and having been a long time ago, I was really surprised to have such overwhelming feelings.  I remember the going away party the night before, who came (who didn’t) and the sleepless night anxiously awaiting to get on the plane in the morning.   I now realize that this day is burned into my memory…..with such a mix of emotions.  I was happy, sad, excited, scared, anxious, terrified, and heart broken.  Not a good way to start the day…or a school year…lol!  But, oddly enough, I think it’s all normal!  And, as sad as it may sound, like it or not, it’s part of growing up, becoming an adult.  It should be considered a rite of passage as you hear people talk about….with hype, glamour, enthusiasm and great expectations! 

Let’s be honest.  Leaving home is hard.  No matter what age.  If you’ve never done it…believe me…it is!  And if you have a child going away, I highly recommend you talk to someone who has been there.  Read a few books, get a dvd, or buy one for your child!  It will help you help your child prepare and be ready yourself.  Of course the experience is different for everyone and each person handles things in their own way.  Some may be less apprehensive, more excited, and want to GET OUT!  I was not one of those people.  I wanted to stay and go….lol!  Not having any friends who had gone away to college, it was unchartered territory for me and my family….and there was a huge learning curve.  Where were the self help books & dvds when I needed them?!  Or cell phones, laptops, skype…its so different these days!  I was so unprepared….lol!

Honestly, I was a mess sometimes during that first year.  This will be news to many…but yes, I had my moments.  Good and bad.  It had everything to do with missing….my friends, my family, and the guy!  Sometimes that was the worst…briefly talked about it in a previous post about staying connected….one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The ironic and funny part about it now, looking back, is that nobody knew.  At least I don’t believe they knew.  Well, my mom eventually did!  However, if you would have seen me or talked to me you would have thought ALL was well with the world.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible.  I was ok.  I was functioning.  Perfectly normal, right?!  Not.  It didn’t feel normal…lol!  I was far from home…8 hours away by car… was really hard sometimes!  Who knew?!

BUT, through it all, I stood firm and did what I was raised and taught to do…suck it up…put one foot in front of the other, keep smiling,  moving forward…never looking back!  I think that is why I had that rush of emotions the other night…..YIKES, I looked back!  WHAT was I thinking?!?!  Ha, my uncle calls me stoic (should be my middle name)….and he is right.  But, I must be slipping!  Umm, well, I have to say I don’t think living that way was healthy….look at the emotions I never dealt with…can you say issues!  Again, I am not alone….and in very good company, this I am sure:)

In all seriousness, my wish is that anyone reading this post that has kids will take to heart and understand that just because your kids say they are happy, and talk the talk, does not mean they are totally prepared to walk the walk.  Pick up a book.  Have a conversation.  We are all different.  Ask questions, stay in tune, and let them know it’s ok to be nervous and scared…guiding them not shoving them out the door!  Encourage them to get out…to talk to people and make friends!  Maybe read a book or 2 about it before leaving.  And know that for me, saying nothing was a coping mechanism (one I hope my kids do not inheret)…so if you’re getting “nothing” as an answer…keep digging…deeper!

I am happy to report that I made it…woo-hoo…it was an awesome experience….I graduated, moved back home, and got a wonderful job and then….I got married, moved to a new state, changed jobs and did it all over again!  Crazy. 

That’s life,


Did you go away to college?  Move away?  Leave your family, friends, a loved one behind?  How did you cope?  What did you do to stay connected?  What advice do you have for kids going to college?  Their parents?

photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman /

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
This entry was posted in rita's rants, staying connected and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Self help dvds….books…tv…and going away to college!

  1. Sunday says:

    I can’t really speak to my own experiences of leaving home, as it is not relevant to this topic. But I know with my oldest heading to high school, I am getting nervous for her (and me).

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I hear you Sunday! High school is another one of those…..rites of passages…that we all remember and are nervous about….especially for our kids!!! Mine starts middle school…..seems pale in comparison…but we’re all feeling it here too….lol! Let the fun begin!

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