KnackPacker Mom Shares Graduation Tips for Parents

In about a month, colleges around the world will celebrate the graduating class of 2019.  Leaving college can be a scary and exhilarating time – for parents and students alike. There are plenty of blog posts filled with advice for students at this time of year, but there’s not as many posts sharing tips and insight for moms and dads.  

Looking for a great graduation gift? Check out the Knack Bags expandable backpacks .

Graduation Insights from Knackpacker Mom, Rachel

With Mother’s Day coming up alongside graduation (or landing on the same day!), the Knack Bags team thought it would be fun to celebrate both moms and grads. Below, we’ve shared the story of Knackpacker, Dr. Rachel K, who has 3 kids all pursuing higher education.  She’s shared some personal parenting insights on helping students transition from undergrad to grad school or their first “real” job.

Rache's family photo

Insight #1:  Share that Angst is Normal

Rachel's two daughters are currently in PhD programs at MIT and UC Santa Barbara, and her son a son is pursuing his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth.  

Rachel often talks about the transition to “The Real World,” with her daughters, discussing how varying the experience is for new grads.  “My oldest daughter, Sasha, had friends that really struggled right out of college,” she says. “In college, your time is very much. She graduated from Bowdoin College, where students live in dorms.  As a student, you don’t have to worry about things like grocery shopping or a lot of cleaning. But when you graduate, you’re all of a sudden tasked with ‘adulting’ responsibilities, like shopping for and preparing meals. It can be jarring.”

Rachel's daughter on a recent research trip

While it could be tempting to tell new grads to “grow up already,” Rachel had a better idea.  “It’s important to prepare your kids to be forgiving of themselves if they’re not immediately happy,” she shares.  “There’s going to be a lot of change and stressful. Make sure to tell them they’re not ‘failing at life’, and the transition can be bumpy.  Angst is normal.”

Insight #2:  Go Out of Your Way for Joy

In college, students are surrounded by friends and engaging activities.  There are constantly new things to do and try as well as passions to pursue.  But the ease in which students find passion often ends with graduation.

“In college you hang out with your friends and it’s super fun all of the time.  Student groups and clubs connect students with like-minded people,” shares Rachel  “But after college, people need to be more deliberate about what brings them joy.”

No, this doesn’t call for a backpacking trip around the world!  Rachel shares pragmatic advice saying that new grads can pinpoint “what they actually like doing, and then find ways to add those insights into their routine.”  

This could mean joining a running club or community arts group.  Websites like meetup.com or Facebook groups for specific cities can be helpful in finding community and new activities.

The Knack Pack as a Graduation Gift

Part of the worry that comes with graduation is the transition that comes with grad school or a new job.

“Both of my daughters started grad school very soon after their undergraduate degrees,” shares Rachel.  “A PhD program is a professional atmosphere. Being younger than others in their cohort meant they needed to present themselves more professionally, especially as they both travel a lot to conduct research and present at conferences.”

Rachel gave a Knack Pack to all three of her kids last year.  “The Knack Pack has been really helpful. They’re able to pack for short trips without the hassle of checking a bag, and show up to conferences looking like a professional.”

Students in grad school and college using the Knack Pack backpack for travel

But it’s not just a great gift for grad students.  Says Rachel, “The Knack Pack has also been useful for my son.  He travels a lot for crew meets, and he can keep his schoolwork (laptop, books, etc) and competition clothing in his large Knack Pack.”

Plus, it’s been great for Mom and Dad.  “My husband and I used a Knack Pack as a carry on bag for a trip to celebrate our 30th anniversary,” she shares.  “I learned a long time ago to pack a carryon bag with essentials, just in case our bag gets lost!”

Thank you for sharing your experience, Rachel  If you’d like to learn when the next blog post goes live, be sure to subscribe to our email list.


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