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How to Respond When Things Get HardJennifer Sullivan
October's colorful foliage signals something else that's not quite so cheery — midterm exam season.
With papers to write and tests to study for, your student is extra busy right now. The heavy work load may also exacerbate any homesickness that they're feeling.
In short, there’s no better time to send them some love. Here are care package ideas they're sure to appreciate.
College students are notoriously bad at taking care of themselves, especially when they have other priorities such as studying for exams. Why not offer to order their favorite foods for delivery?
Find out what restaurants deliver to their dorms or off-campus housing, or simply ask what they’d like to eat. They may be able to tell you about local delivery services as an alternative to Postmates or Uber Eats. They’re sure to be grateful to have their dinners taken care of, and they’ll be able to ask you for their favorite comfort food if it’s available nearby.
It's always good to make sure they’re stocked up on snacks for late night studying or when they simply forget to eat (it happens!). Fill a box with:
If they’re the type to stock up purely on one kind of snack food, send them a box of their favorites! Otherwise, there are some great variety packages available on Amazon. Don't forget to include a note to remind them you're thinking about them.
Exam season can feel like a wind tunnel where nothing matters but getting through your tests. Remind your student to keep things in perspective and to try not to run themselves into the ground over their midterms.
Things are different this year, and students may not be able to hang out with their friends as a way to get moral support and blow off steam, and many schools won't be running their usual exam week stress-relief events. All the more reason to include something you know they love or find something you know they need!
My college used to offer things like free massages, essential oil bottles and therapy dog sessions come exam season. As much as I absolutely adored the therapy dog sessions, the free massages were pretty hard to beat in terms of practicality as we all spent extra time hunched over desks and laptops.
Since it’s a bit out of the question this year, and my roommate and I have lost access to our campus resources after graduation anyway, we keep a few much-loved Amazon goodies in our house to help with stress relief. There are the basics such as essential oil candles and lotions with stress-relieving ingredients. But we also use a foam roller, heating pads, a Theracane (a tool that helps you massage your own back with ease), and an electric back massager to help relax stressed muscles. My roommate and I used all of these during our college years to help when our muscles tensed up from stress and cannot recommend them enough.
Even the best of us have trouble mustering the willpower to keep studying for weeks on end, so be sure to include something to boost your student's spirits.
Maybe it’s a funny greeting card, a photo of their pets back at home, a frivolous magazine or a set of their favorite pens or another study tool. You know best what will put a smile on your student's face.
Maybe there’s something they’ve had their eye on for a while like a new computer keyboard, or a fuzzy blanket or slippers to snuggle into as the weather gets colder. With Halloween approaching, you could send onesie pajamas that double as a costume of their favorite animal or cartoon character. Onesies have long been a favorite of college students, whether it’s for comfort, warmth or just a few laughs while walking to class (they've even been worn at commencement ceremonies!). Doesn’t studying sound like it’d be a lot more fun if you were dressed like a dragon?
Even more important than a package? Just checking in to see how they’re doing. With so much upheaval in the world, we're all looking for safe ways to relieve stress and your empathy and advice matter more than ever. Knowing you're rooting for them and that you’re just a phone call away when they need you is the best study support of all.
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When your college student starts their first semester, it’s not just a big deal for them. It’s a big deal for you, too. Get the First Semester Guide for College Parents now!