May 9 2010 by Claudia Kunkel
As Alice Cooper sings it "School's out for summer, School's out forever". Literally music to the ears for thousands of young adults graduating from college this May. However, the most enthusiastic people singing this song may be the parents of those graduates. However, my lines to the song might be more of "School's out for summer, School's out forever, no more tuition payments"!
Come on, parents. You know what I'm talking about. They had their fun, hopefully learned some good life lessons along the way and even better some skills to get them off the payroll and into their first job. Now that's worth jumping for joy. Since we have an upcoming May graduation out of town as well as family coming in from out of town, I've put together some helpful hints to make the celebration go smoothly.
- You know well in advance what day colleges hold their graduations. So don't wait. To get the best air fares, book early to get the best fare available and you will be better prepared to grab those occasional sales. Remember that it's usually cheaper to travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday and stay over on a Saturday night.
- Chances are you've visited your college student before graduation and even possibly stayed at the same hotel each time you've visited, thus racking up rewards points (or you should be). Take advantage of your established record for staying with them and ask for their very best rate. If you have family members coming from out of town, ask the hotel for a discounted rate for booking several rooms at the same time. Don't forget to ask them to book all of your rooms together - unless you prefer to NOT be next door to your relatives!
- Celebration Dinner. Ask your graduate their favorite place to eat - unless it's a fast food restaurant or the local campus dive. Then book it - early. Remember that your son or daughter is not the only one graduating. The city/town will be swarming with proud parents that weekend with the same plans in mind for their grad. Try to book the party room so all of you can mingle and move around without interrupting the other diners. It gives you a sense of the VIP room reserved for only the most "famous" people! Don't forget to reserve a few more spots than your exact number. Chances are your son or daughter will inevitably invite some good friends to join you -
- It's always nice to honor the college's graduation traditions. Look online at the college's graduation site. They will usually list all of the activities surrounding graduation and it adds to the occasion if you can attend at least one or two of the activities. Remember the flowers - especially if you have a daughter graduating. Every one that I've been to, it's customary to give the graduate a bouquet - makes it even more special for them.
- Last piece of advice - lots and lots of cameras, video cameras, recording devices, cell phones. You will need them all to capture every single moment. Trust me, your joy will be just as great as that of your graduate and you don't want to miss it.
School's Out Forever!