You may remember my experience last year? Happy to say that the beginning of the second year wasn't quite so traumatic. She phones a lot, I've been a few times and the Ball & Chain is in Washington DC so often that she's probably on the verge of saying "Dad, we really have to get out of this Wednesday-night-dinner-routine." (Although I'm sure she won't.)
I read a hilarious piece in the Guardian the other day - two points of view of the first term of university. Click here and have a read. There's a lot of parent comments saying "Back in the day..". Well yes, university is very different now. If I wanted to phone home, I had to collect mucho coinage, stand in a freezing cement stairwell and wait till the lad downstairs got off the phone. (I actually did tend to phone home once a week, btw, and was a copious letter writer.) These days with smart phones, they can text whenever they want, send photos of the piles of work they have (my heart bleeds) and generally pester you or not, to their hearts' delight.
If you're a parent of a US college student however, sometimes you have no option but to hover and generally be a helicopter parent. We get weekly e-mails from the Parents Office at our college, telling us everything from campus safety services (good to know) to how the menu has changed in the student cafeteria, (not so much). Every so often we get an e-mail suggesting that we remind our children of the content. I once e-mailed back and reminded them that since she was on the college e-mail system, it might be easier and quicker if they just e-mailed her directly. She's nearly 20 fer' cryin' out loud. And yes - there truly are whole departments or offices devoted to parental communication - or, as it should be called "Fund-raising".
In a few weeks, I'm going to Parents' Weekend, which is quite the tradition in the USA. Having only just bid them farewell, colleges across the country host a big-shebang Parents (or Family) weekend, where you have to fly or drive miles and miles so as not to make your child look like an unloved orphan. Last year the whole family went ($$$$) and had a lovely time; this year it's just me and the grandma who's flying over from the UK for a weekend of
British university parents would probably revolt; I've been here so long it doesn't even seem that weird to me now.