You can't go near a shop at this time of year without offers for student starter packs and comprehensive checklists (thanks for this one, John Lewis).
It all feels quite comforting (if pricey). It makes you feel you're in control when inside you're probably panicking about what the future holds. It's a way of fending off the terrifying notion that you've done your job: from now on you'll have to let your child make his or her own mistakes.
Of course, it goes without saying that students don't need all this stuff. (I'm not proud to admit that I packed my eldest off with no duvet, so he froze through the Newcastle nights with the cheapest 4.5 tog he could afford.)
Three things students really need to get a head start:
- simple recipes of favourite meals that are easy/microwavable.
- something comforting from home. A recent survey found that nearly a third of students take their old teddy.
- a note or card from you - saying all the stuff you'll forget to say when it comes to saying goodbye
And forgive me for being cheesy, but what they really need is to know that you'll always be there when they do make their own mistakes.