13 Things I’d Like To Say To My Son Who’s Starting University (Works For Daughters Too!)

A mom writes a heartfelt yet the perfect note to her son as she leaves him at university where he'll be making his life as an 'adult' for the first time. 

A mom writes a heartfelt yet the perfect note to her son as she leaves him at university where he’ll be making his life as an ‘adult’ for the first time. 

As you step into these gates, let’s keep a few things very clear:

It’s not the “end of your woes”

Yes I lied. College is not the end of all your woes. It is just another step in life.

There is this section in the Manual that comes with every child on ‘Things to say to teenagers to push them to work hard in school.’ The lines I used to repeat all the time – ‘This is it. Once you are in college, your life is set.’ ? Yeah well, chapter 8, page 34. Gotcha!

So you’re an ‘adult’ now? Here’s what it means

You have been squealing that you are an adult now, since your 18th birthday. So let’s get down to business. I will not be calling to wake you up anymore. You miss a deadline, well adult-up and deal with it.

Oh and the shirt isn’t ironed? Too bad. Plan ahead.

Let’s get the thing about laundry very clear

Adults figure their laundry out themselves. So use the services on campus. The denims that you bought? They bleed. You might want to be careful unless you want all your clothes to be a Pantone shade card of all possible blues.

And no, repeating the same unwashed clothes everyday and wearing them inside out is not cool.

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You’re still the ‘child of Indian parents’

‘Adulting’ does not of course mean your backside can not be whooped. We are Indian parents after all. We are above the law and international parenting standards.

Yes, that still means a ‘hug’

Also, when I visit you, expect a hug. Refer to point no. 4 about Indian parents.

I am officially in panic mode

It is like sending you to kindergarten all over again. Only that you are more than 6 foot tall. And not in a diaper. Nevertheless, the panic is real.

So if you get multiple calls to ascertain your well-being, be patient.

I am also available 24X7. Nothing changes that

(Refer to point 4 about Indian parents and all that). Remember when you were in grade 4 and told me about the bullying incident? We first deployed the sane strategies and our fall-back plan-B was? Yep. That still holds. I shall burn the world down if someone so much as lays a finger on you. One call. That is all it will take. And I will be there.

Give ‘people’ a chance

There will be all sorts of people there. For heaven’s sake get off your high horse and give people a chance.

I said people. Not the stuff that one sniffs, smokes or drinks up. I do have the in-built antenna I told you about when you were 4.

Choice? Well, consequences too!

Being an adult is also about choices and their consequences. Should I party tonight? Or should I complete the darned assignment due tomorrow?

Choices! Choices! Weigh them. Picture the consequences. And then choose your hat.

Yes, you’re an adult, but you still don’t know everything

As an adult, you might have brief periods of delusional cognitive superiority, wherein you’d think that you know more than us, your parents.

Sit down, deep breathe and drink a glass of water. The feeling will pass. If it doesn’t, ah well, go back to point no. 4.

This is most important

However cool I might seem right now, a big chunk of my heart is going with you. Keep it safe. Love it. Love yourself.


Did I tell you that I am here? And that you can do this? I AM NOT PANICKING. YET.

Image source: shutterstock

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About the Author


Dr. Tanu Shree Singh is a parent to two preteen boys, a lecturer in Psychology, and has a keen interest in the area of Positive Psychology. Most of her theories of bringing up children, however, read more...

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