Reprisal: A Letter to My Daughter Upon the Beginning of Her College Career

Almost a year ago I ran this post, and it’s remained one of this blog’s most popular. Since many of you are embracing big changes in your family today, I thought to do a reprisal.

Back later this week with a new Tarty post. 


My dearest Molly:

On this, the auspicious beginning of the rest of your life, I thought to distill all I know about higher education. Some of this I heard from your grandparents, who in turn passed on the wisdom from their parents. In other words, if you eff college up, you have two generations to blame.

1. The reference to “higher” was not veiled permission to toke-up.

2. Education is never a waste, especially if it gets you seated next to the cute, smart boys.

3. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its old dimensions. Nor will your jeans, if you make a habit of buying a double-double each morning.

4. Be grateful for all you will learn. Be respectful of what you already know. (For you, my darling, are one of the most intuitively wise people I have met.) Be on time for dinner at least once a week, lest I take over your bedroom for writing.

5. Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and if you’re going to pet the sweaty stuff, there’s a 10-page health questionnaire for him to fill out in advance.

6. Know your dad, bro and I have your back; your grandparents, aunts and uncles, your arms and legs. And if you manage to fail despite all that support — though I can’t imagine this happening — know the Subway down the street is hiring for $9.50 an hour.

Your mom, who you have made humbled and proud every day of your life

Thanks for indulging me, peeps. I have no idea how many of you are sending your children off into the vast unknown this fall, but what would be your best advice to them now? Have you told them? And do you have anything you’d like to add to my daughter’s letter?

8 thoughts on “Reprisal: A Letter to My Daughter Upon the Beginning of Her College Career

  1. As my youngest starts ALL DAY school, I’m doing everything I can to make sure he enjoys the experience, and becomes someone who likes learning — for life. (My other advice to him? Wash your hands every chance you get!)

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