Care Packages for your College Kid

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You’ve just brought your college student to school either for the first time or as a return student.  The tears have finally dried on Mom’s face, as she leaves her baby behind; and the tears are nearly dried on Dad’s face, as the sting of the tuition bill becomes a fading memory. 

Especially if your child is away for the first time, they’re going to want to know that they’re loved, thought about and missed. Plus, they’re going to be hungry and homesick at least part of the time.  Care packages are a great way to remedy both of those things!

When our oldest daughter, Brighid, went to college for the first time, we tried to send monthly packages.  As soon as we dropped her off, we went home and put together a package of things we thought she’d miss from home.  We’re just outside of Philadelphia, so Brighid’s package included things like Tastykakes, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, some Termini’s bakery Italian cookies, and a fuzzy warm Flyers sweatshirt. You can send your child a bedtime kiss – a care package containing a pair of comfy pajamas, the latest on the best seller list, and a box of hot chocolate.  If your child loves your homemade cookies (my kids don’t have a mom that bakes or cooks, so my kids will never miss home cooked stuff!), bake a batch and send them. 

Holidays were great opportunities for care packages.  For each holiday my daughter was away from home, we filled a box with holiday themed paper plates, napkins, cups, and a few decorations for her room.  We’d throw in holiday boxed cake mixes and frosting, holiday themed candies or snacks, and a holiday coffee mug or candy dish.  It not only helped her get a taste of home, but it allowed her to invite friends over to celebrate with her.  Don’t forget to include a gift card for Domino’s to complete the party!

Seasonal care packages were always welcome. When the summer breezes finally give way to a fall chill, pack a box with some Ginger Snap cookies and a selection of tea bags.  Winter can be a great time to send your college student some new gloves, a hat, and a scarf – maybe in school colors.  When the spring thaw comes, send a bouquet of beautiful spring flowers.

Care packages are a great place to put gift cards your college kid might need.  WalMart gift cards allow them to pick up toiletries, some groceries, or cleaning supplies (stop laughing).  Also appreciated are gift cards for special treats – Starbucks, Applebee’s (or other chain restaurants), or the movie theater.  Oh, and don’t forget those cram for exam care packages – fill those with coffee, chocolate, snacks, and maybe some energy drinks!

We found that care packages eased the pain of separation anxiety – for both us and our college kid.  It makes Mom and Dad feel like they’re still needed, and it makes your college kid feel like they are still part of the family (even though their younger sisters have redecorated their room in Sponge Bob posters and claimed it as their own).  It’s like getting a big hug from home.  And who doesn’t  need a big hug now and then?

Would I Want To Be In Any Club That Would Have Me as a Member?

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I am finding out some interesting facts about the states where I have applications in for nursing school.  I chose the states hoping to find less competition to get into the programs.  After the fact, I decided to look into the public schools.  I do have children that will require education while I myself am pursuing my degree.  These are some of the states I applied to:

Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Mississippi and of course Florida.

Three of the states I applied to are ranked as the Dumbest States in the United States.  I kid you not.  Three of the states where I hope to go to school are, in fact, NOT smarter than a fifth grader.

Fingers crossed that no matter where I go, I find some sort of quality education for my girls.  Or at least a good banjo teacher, so when they are sitting on the river banks, they’ll be able to twang away.  A girlz gotta have wicked mad skilz.

You Want Me To Go Where And Do What When?

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Here is my Fall 2010 Mom going back to school class schedule.  My husband thought I needed to know where I was on what days and how much of my life was being consumed.  As if I didn’t already know.

I think I feel much worse knowing that I can only pee every other Thursday between 2:12 AM and 2:14 AM.

Did we put “Feed the Mom” on this schedule anywhere?  I should be looking good by beach season, because I don’t see food addressed anywhere on these charts…

Version 1 – College Algebra, otherwise known as Pre-Calculus

Now we come to Version 2 – Add Nutrition, Computers and Psychology. All being taken on campus. Don’t they let you take courses online these days?

Then we move to Version 3 – Move Computers and Psychology to online courses.  Apparently they DO have online courses. I haven’t been able to change the Nutrition class to an online version. Next stop, an in-person trip to the Registrars office.

Version 4 – Move Nutrition to an online course. Now this week, after a trip to the Registrars office in person, I can change to an online course. I had to go in person to change to an online course because I couldn’t change to an online course online. Make sense?

I’m going to nursing school, I just don’t know where

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You know when you ponder things for a really long time, and then other stuff happens, life takes over, and the thing you’ve been debating over for forever gets pushed to the back burner?  And then you finally have time to sit down and make your decision, and the thing you wanted may not be as attainable as it would have been had you kept it in the front of your list of priorities?

Well, I’m finding this frustration with nursing school.

There is a nursing shortage, but there is also a money shortage.  Nursing programs all over the United States are having to cut back on the number of people they are admitting for a variety of reasons – they don’t have hospitals that have enough stuff to supervise clinical hours for students.  They don’t have instructors to teach the classes.  Programs are being eliminated due to funding and other issues.  That means that in some schools, there is a two year waiting list to get into the nursing program.  Or there is no waiting list, but your application will be one of four or more for every open spot they have.  Getting a seat in some of these programs is going to be like hitting the lottery!

I am also finding that even though I’ve taken courses and gotten As in them, most of them are too old.  I’m having to repeat classes that I already took.

And I am finding that all those math and sciences classes I avoided taking in college because you didn’t need them to get a degree in English are all the classes that I need now – so on top of the nursing program I need to get into, I have to tackle at least two semesters worth of terrifying classes.

I am lucky that even though my DH has retired from work early due to a vision disability, we are able to send me back to school full-time. And I have a full-time free tutor at home with nothing else to do 

But where do I go to school?

I ruled out any programs from non-accredited institutions.

Looking for a 4 year accredited school (college or university) for an BSN program that admits to the Nursing program, even if conditionally, is looking like a needle in the hay stack.

Am I missing something? Is every BSN program only taking transfer students, or students who get admitted to the College or University as -or general studies, and then roll the dice and hope you get accepted to those limited number of slots in 2 years?

Or are the $40k/year programs at Illinois Wesleyan University the only types of programs that do direct admission?