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Parents’ guide to student care packages

Jake Hutchison

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Illustration by Kayce Tynan Photo credit: Kayce Tynan

Your child is entering the brave new world known as college. This transition is to be one of the proudest, scariest and expensive moments in a parent’s life. It’s perfectly natural to worry about your first-year student. Are they fully prepared?

One of the ways parents can gain some peace of mind is through the various care packages you can send your student to ensure they have the essentials for surviving the best years of their lives.

Gift Cards

No, not to BevMo or Gamestop (per se). One of the best ways to help your student stress less about money is by purchasing them a gift card.

“If I could’ve had one thing as a freshman, it would’ve been a gift card to Trader Joe’s or somewhere to get groceries,” said Monica Bowker, senior performance arts major. “It’s easy for money to go to other things, especially when you are learning how to live on your own.”

Pro tip: BevMo is kind of like food, provided you are 21 years old.

Cleaning supplies

That’s right, they have to clean up after themselves now. Handing a newly-free 18-year-old a box of detergent might not cause them to do a backflip with excitement, but they’ll appreciate the first time they have to clean up after a house par… study session.

Pro tip: Try not to go overboard on this one. They probably don’t need 40 bottles of dish soap.

Bathroom supplies

Toothpaste, deodorant and other supplies add up over time. You can save your new student time and money by sending them a bathroom survival kit with their favorite brands.

Pro tip: Go for the Costco-size toilet paper. They, and possibly their roommates, will thank you later.

School Supplies

Just because they aren’t in high school anymore, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appreciate some help with back-to-school supplies. Notebooks, pens and pencils aren’t always expensive, but they get lost, coffee stained, broken and, in some cases, thrown out a dorm window after a homework meltdown.

Pro Tip: It’s still possible to embarrass a college student. Think twice before grabbing that One Direction binder.

Furniture/appliances

No, you don’t have to go on a $500 Ikea binge. But remember that old sofa no one uses? It’d look perfect in your student’s new living room. This same trick works for the old toaster, microwave, nightstand, etc.

Pro tip: Check for spiders. A date getting bit by a black widow can be a real mood killer.

Condoms

That’s inappropriate and fowl! Just kidding— you’re a practical parent who knows that there is a chance your child may partake in coitus.

Look, the fact is that Butte county hit STD levels of epidemic proportions. The reality is that college students have sex, and that is fine. If you are comfortable enough (and your student is comfortable enough), it might not hurt to throw some rubbers in with the toilet paper.

Pro Tip: Lubricants can irritate some. Your best bet is to grab a variety pack and let them find out what does and doesn’t work for them.

Their favorite anything

Going away to college isn’t just emotional for the parents, it can be terrifying for the student. How cool would it be for them to start unpacking and find their favorite childhood blanket that you carefully hid in their stuff? This isn’t even limited to comfort items. Even just throwing in a bag of their favorite chips or their favorite candy bar can show them that they still have you, no matter how far away they may be.

Pro tip: No matter what, you’re going to stress. Just don’t forget that your new student will be OK.

Jacob Hutchison can be reached at [email protected] or @PoserPunk on Twitter.

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Parents’ guide to student care packages