It’s almost time. And you know you’re going to cry when you have to leave them defenceless, alone. Bewildered in an utterly alien world - otherwise known as university halls of residence.
You’ve tried to prepare them; been the dutiful parent and spent an arm and a leg to provide them with home-from-home comforts and essentials. Like a flat-screen TV, an Apple Mac laptop, an indestructible alarm clock and a George Formby grill. You’ve packed up a food box and stuck money in their bank account - done everything you can think of to provide that arm’s-length blanket of care that makes you feel a little bit more in control of their wellbeing. Never mind the new toaster and a duvet set, though, have you taught them the fundamental student survival skills?
Top of the list, how not to kill yourself with booze. Freshers Week is an alcoholic swamp they will fall into sure as eggs will get boiled in the communal kettle. Warn them it will suck them down and down - and could even kill them. Don’t worry about overdoing it, here. Use the scariest possible medical terminology and every terrifying urban myth you can find on the Internet.
Here’s one that is actually true: this week, a student in York hit the headlines for drinking so much vodka in an end of term binge, her throat quite literally exploded. She was so sick she tore her windpipe. Casualty doctors also discovered her body lacks the enzymes needed to break down alcohol - which had made her face and throat swell so badly she nearly suffocated. Second on the list, tell your teen he/she too has the very same enzyme deficiency.
Third up: have a hugely embarrassing talk about contraception again. Fourthly: explain if they spend all their money on takeaways, their hair will fall out, their acne will get loads worse and they’ll have no dosh left to go to Boots.
Lastly, even though you hate tattoos, insist your mobile number is inscribed on their wrist. For the emergency services.