I have a lot of qualms about sending my first-born off to school. Many, many qualms. I’ve neatly packaged up most of that anxiety into worrying about what I should send with her to University of South Florida. Most of it. Please, let me share the results of my angst.


The Naked Roommate • $12

This self-help book tackles the most topical of issues an incoming college freshman might face from the aforementioned roommate to other issues like dorm life, classes, dating scene, sex, no sex, or hearing other people having sex, greek life, drinking, drugs, homesickness, technology and laundry. This isn’t your parent’s advice but apparently author Harlan Cohen is doing something right, because the latest iteration is the 7th printing. It’s already ordered. @ Amazon.com

Blow up bed • starting at $90

Why buy a blow-up bed when your little treasure is going to have a perfectly good twin in the dorm or apartment? Well, it’s a bit like a security blanket. It’s the promise of future visits from friends at nearby colleges, or little sisters. It’s also handy for when there’s a sleepover with new (platonic! Thank God!) friends they make on campus. Buy the kind with the electric motor because Dad’s air compressor won’t be handy. These little babies go on sale every so often, so snap one up. @ Kmart.


Dorm safe • starting at $20


There’s a minimum of privacy in any group living situation; certainly less than your-off-to-college child can imagine. A lack of privacy can sometimes mean a lack of security and there might be things they would like to lock up — tips from a waitressing job, perhaps. There are tiny safes big enough for a wad of cash or a smartphone, and larger ones capable of keeping a few more valuables. Dormco.com


Bedding • $$ to $$$

I dunno ’bout the rest of y’all, but my plan was to hit the nearest Target to school and buy a couple of sheets, a comforter and a duvet, and a few towels. That was a solid plan until I found the Our Campus Market website that sells something called the “Best Rest Deluxe Value Pak” that includes 35 items and free shipping. It has all the regular stuff like sheets and towels plus crap I didn’t even think of like a surge protector and a first aid kit. My anxiety level just peaked. www.ocm.com. 


Book about the Keys

I was seriously considering buying my kid a coffee table book about the Florida Keys. I thought it would be a great conversation starter. That last sentence I heard in my own mother’s voice, immediately followed by the (again, just in my head) voice of my daughter. “No, mom. Just. No.” Sigh.





Coffee pot • $60

If I’m certain of one thing (I’m not), it’s that we will be buying a Keurig K-Compact Single Serve K-Cup Pod coffee maker in turquoise. My kid needs coffee. She needs it in the morning, she needs it in the afternoon and (yes, some will argue) she needs it in the middle of the night. Quiet. She’s a teenager and ruining her body and sleep rhythms is her American right. The con of these things is that those pods can get expensive for cash-strapped freshman. So, I will also be buying her one of those re-usable cups she can fill with coffee grounds when she’s broke. 

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