college packing

Western Kentucky University-bound Julie Wilson, left, receives some help packing from her mother, Cindy.

That fall right of passage, saying goodbye to college-bound freshman, is quickly approaching for local parents.

“It’s hard when your youngest one leaves home for college,” Cindy Wilson said.

Her daughter Julie is set to attend Western Kentucky University this fall. Wilson takes comfort in knowing her son Joey is in the area and will be there to help his younger sibling.

“It makes it a little easier knowing there’s a younger brother or sister there,” she said.

Julie’s father, Gary, is going to miss conversations with his daughter the most. He anticipates frequent phone calls.

“I’m proud of her, but it’s going to be different without her being here,” he said.

“Excited but nervous” is how Tonya Hagan feels about her daughter Gavin’s upcoming semester at the University of Kentucky. One source of apprehension is the heavier traffic her child will face living in Lexington.

Hagan’s concerns also stemmed from the extra responsibility that comes with living out from under Mom and Dad’s care. She described a plan of action in helping to make Gavin’s transition to college life a little smoother. These measures include buying plenty of frozen dinners and doing several weeks worth of laundry in advance of the move.

“I just want her to focus on her school [work] and not come home having to worry about cooking or cleaning,” Hagan said.

Trina Wyatt has had extra practice with saying goodbye to son Andrew before he starts classes at UK; the youth’s been residing in Lexington all summer.

Her son’s decision to move into “Wildcat Country” early and stay with older brother Nathaniel stemmed from a desire to learn the area and how to navigate it before the start of the semester.

“He didn’t want to move up there and start learning how to drive,” Wyatt said.

Andrew spends his weekends holding down a job at Abercrombie and Fitch in Lexington’s Fayette Mall.

“It’s helped him to meet people,” Wyatt said.

Despite his schedule, Andrew still comes into Glasgow two days a week to babysit for his aunts, according to his mother.

Andrew’s summer spent back and forth between Barren County and Lexington is making it easier for Mom to prepare for his being away for longer intervals once school is in session.

“It’s sort of weaning me over the summer,” Wyatt said. “It’s bittersweet because you know there’s going to be this huge void but you want them to pursue their dreams.”

As the laundry basket begins to overflow, however, some believe they’ll see their children with more regularity.

“[Julie] will probably come home every weekend with a gift basket for us,” Wilson said, referencing a bag of dirty clothes.

As for advice, most of the parents listed safety as being at the top of the list. Hagan sums it up best in the precaution she offered to Gavin.

“Don’t be out by yourself,” she said. “Always be with somebody.”

Donna Brownfield is one area parent who won’t have to worry about “empty nest syndrome,” at least not right away. Her twin sons, Ben and Andy, have opted to live at home their first year and attend WKU’s local campus.

“It’s a big relief,” Brownfield said about her sons’ decision.

Father Tony added the boys may decide to live at home throughout the entirety of their college career, citing how successful it turned out to be for their older sister Kara.

While living at home, Dad said his sons will continue to do chores around the house, including moving the lawn. He added that both plan to keep their jobs at the local Houchens grocery stores.

Like wife Donna, Brownfield was also excited to learn of his sons’ plans.

“It just keeps the family together a little while longer,” he said.

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