Blog Post

Welcome to the Family!

Hello William & Mary Families!

The 2021-2022 academic year is about to begin, and as parents of a sophomore and senior, our household is a buzz of excitement and preparation for the return to campus. Whether you’re a new Class of 2025 parent or a returning Tribe family, we know this time of year can be full of mixed emotions – and stress. So, here are some things either we wish we knew, or were glad we did for returning to campus:

Freshman Family Tips: Forget the kitchen sink, but remember some key essentials when packing, such as clips and containers for snacks (goal – keep freshness in and bugs out). And don’t forget to prep a small health aid kit with Band-Aids for blisters from walking on brick paths, and antihistamines and decongestants to combat allergies. Oh, no laundry pods because dorm washing machines are front loaders and the plastic pods sometimes won’t dissolve. When you say your “goodbye,” remember to smile (even if your eyes are tearing up) and let them know you believe in them, and you promise not to hover (this is their experience, not yours) if they promise to call you at least once a week!

Sophomore Family Tips: You’re in luck if you’re able to reuse last year’s bedding, area rugs, etc. but be sure to have your student double check the bed size and if they need to bring last year’s microwave and/or fridge. No sense lugging it all the way to the Burg if their new roommate(s) have them. Send them to the store to replenish their basic supplies (they’ve got this!) and remind them that everything must fit in the family car. Before you say your “goodbye,” take a deep breath (smile, of course) and remind them how proud you are of them – and then remind them to visit the Cohen Career Center to explore the many resources available to help them find a winter break externship and design their LinkedIn profile. And parents, continue to call them each week – they’ll want your support this year.

Junior Family Tips: If your student is living off campus, preparing for the return to campus seems more like your student has graduated because you’re setting up their first house/apartment. Reach out to friends who may be refreshing their dinner/kitchen items, or maybe you are the lucky one updating; and don’t forget to look in the attic. You knew you’d have a use for that old dining table and chairs! You might be saying your “goodbye” from your hometown, because they’re driving to campus this year. Remind them to drive safely, and to design a healthy balance into their schedules – that includes exercise, healthy meals, spiritual/mental nourishment, and studies.

Senior Family Tips: At this point your student is securely in the driver’s seat – literally. Packing may consist of getting a new area rug (let’s face it – a three-year life span in college was great) followed by a run to the storage unit. Hopefully the bedding made it home for a good cleaning and isn’t in the storage unit back at school – if not, there are some public laundries with large machines on Monticello Avenue! When you say your “goodbye,” you may have a flood of memories of that day four years ago. Bring out a picture to remind your student and yourself how far you both have come! And, remind them to cherish each day, because just like the last three years flew by, so will this one!

Look for us at Family Orientation on August 28. We are thrilled to be back on campus and can’t wait to see you and your family!

Kelly Van Niman P ’22, P ’24 & Robert Van Niman ’91, P ’22 & P ’24
Chairs, Parent & Family Council