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大学新生入学,搬家公司出马

On College Move-In Day, Resist the U-Haul
大学新生入学,搬家公司出马

THIS week, my neighbor Lisa, who owns a smallish Honda, asked if she could borrow our minivan to help move her daughter to college in New York City, about 40 minutes away.

我的邻居丽莎(Lisa)有一辆小小的本田(Honda),可这星期她问我能不能把我们家的小货车借给她,好帮她女儿搬家到纽约城里的大学,就是40分钟的路程。

No problem, we said. But as it turned out, with all the belongings her daughter was taking, Lisa needed to supersize and borrowed a friend’s much larger sport utility vehicle.

我们说,没问题。不过后来发现,她女儿要搬的全部东西加起来,让丽莎不得不加码,从另一个朋友那里借来一辆大得多的运动休旅车。
 

北卡莱罗纳州立大学的大二学生维罗妮卡·奥鲁科(Veronica O’Rourke)将她和室友的行李搬进了位于罗利市的寝室。

“I thought we’d have the most stuff of all, but far from it,” she said. “People were there with U-Hauls.”

“我以为我们是所有人里东西最多的,不过远远不是,”她说:“那里还有人是请U-Haul搬家公司出马的。”

And remember, this is to move freshmen into furnished dormitory rooms.

而且要记住,这些大一新生要搬去的是家具齐全的学生宿舍。

What’s going on? I know I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but when I went to college, I took a couple of suitcases. And nothing was brand new. I used whichever sheets and towels my mother decided she didn’t need anymore.

这是怎么回事?我知道我这样说会听着像个老古董,不过我上大学的时候,我只是带了两个旅行箱,而且里面没有任何东西是全新的。我用的床单和毛巾都是我妈妈觉得她已经不再需要的。

Well, things have changed. Now stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Walmart make it so easy to buy so much. They offer convenient college registries and remind you to tell your friends and family. In many cases, you order everything at home and it is all delivered right to your college.

是的,时代不同了。现在有了像寝浴百货(Bed Bath & Beyond)、塔吉特百货(Target)和沃尔玛(Walmart)这些商店让人动不动就买一大堆东西。它们设有方便的大学入学订购目录,而且还会提醒你去告诉亲友。很多时候,你从家里订购所有东西,货可以直接送到你的学校里。

“We’re not keeping up with the Joneses anymore; we’re keeping up with the Joneses’ college kid,” said Nancy Berk, a clinical psychologist and self-published author of “College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kids Get Into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship or Your Mind” (2011). “A friend’s daughter is coordinating comforters for their dorms, and they’re doing it with $300 comforters.”

“我们已经不是在和邻居攀比了,我们是在和邻居上大学的孩子攀比,”临床心理学家南茜·贝尔克(Nancy Berk)说。2011年她还自助出版了一本书《被束缚的大学:如何和谐、理性又省钱地帮助子女走进理想大学》(College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kids Get Into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship or Your Mind)。她说:“一个朋友的女儿负责给她们宿舍准备被子,结果她们买来的是300美元的被子。”

There is a psychological component to all of this. First of all, as with every other milestone in our lives, we have become convinced that we need to observe our children’s college transitions by purchasing things. And the more the better.

造成这一切是有心理因素的。首先,就像我们人生中的每个重要里程碑一样,我们相信自己需要通过买东西来好好看着我们的孩子进入大学阶段,而且买得越多越好。

Also, for a generation of parents intimately involved with every aspect of their children’s lives, sending them off on their first real-world experience without us is a big deal, said Ms. Berk, who has seen two sons off to college. One way we think we can smooth that adjustment, she said, is “by buying stuff.”

此外,已经送过两个儿子上大学的贝尔克女士说,这一代的父母密切地介入了子女生活的每一个方面,对于他们来说,送他们走,去开始他们人生中第一段没有我们在身边的现实生活体验,是一件大事情。她说,现在大家都觉得,能够让人们在这一次转变中顺利过渡的其中一个方法,就是“买东西”。

Or, as Chris Seman, president of Caring Transitions, a relocation and estate liquidation company, said, “I think parents are trying to duplicate their home for their kids.”

又或者,就像一家房屋迁移和房产清算公司“Caring Transitions”的总裁克里斯·塞曼(Chris Seman)所说,“我觉得父母是想把他们的家复制一个给他们的孩子。”

In addition, Ms. Berk said, parents are more invested financially in college than ever before. “We’re paying a fortune, and we want it to be all so wonderful for our kids,” she said.

贝尔克女士说,此外,家长们投资在大学上的金钱比以往任何时候都要多。“我们投入一大笔钱,我们想让我们的孩子一切都那么美好,”她说。

So how do we rein all of this in? I collected some advice from the experts, including parents in my neighborhood whose children are in various stages of the college experience.

那我们该如何把握这一切呢?我从专家和邻居们那里搜集了一些建议,他们的孩子都处在念大学。

Now, I know I will hear cries of sexism, but everyone I spoke to agreed that packing for a boy was completely different from packing for a girl.

我知道我现在说的这些会遭到性别歧视的指责,不过跟我聊过的每一个人都认同,给男孩打点行装,和给女孩打点是完全不一样的。

“For guys to get dressed up, they need one polo shirt,” Mr. Seman said. “Girls bring a lot more.”

“男生要穿得整齐点,一件有领T恤足矣,”塞曼说,“女生要带的则多得多。”

But, he said, for boys it is electronics that take up space.

不过,他说,对于男生来说,真正占地方的是电子产品。

One of the first suggestions from Mr. Seman and others was that your children should contact their roommates to avoid duplicating items. If your children are just starting college, they have most likely been communicating with their roommates online; otherwise, they are probably rooming with people they already know.

塞曼等人首先提供的其中一条建议是,你的孩子们应该和他们的室友沟通好,以避免带重复的物品。如果你的孩子正准备上大学,他们很可能已经开始和他们的室友在网上联系了;又或者,他们很可能将是和自己认识的人同住。

My neighbor Kim, whose daughter is entering her sophomore year at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, said the first year the roommates planned over Facebook who would bring what.

我的邻居金(Kim)的女儿现在在北卡罗来纳大学威明顿分校(The University of North Carolina at Wilmington)读书,即将进入大学二年级,金说在第一年的时候,室友们就是在Facebook上商量好谁负责带什么东西。

“The people who lived the closest brought the big things like the futon couch and the microwave,” she said.

“住得最近的人就带沙发床和微波炉之类的大件物品,”她说。

My neighbor Pam, whose older son just graduated from college and whose younger one is entering this year, chuckled when she remembered the first online exchanges between her older son, Daniel, and his roommate.

我另一个邻居帕姆(Pam)的大儿子刚从大学毕业,而小儿子则是今年入学。大儿子丹尼尔(Daniel)和室友第一次网上沟通时说的话,让她想起来就发笑。

“His roommate talked about ambient lighting, and Daniel had no idea what that was,” she said.

“他室友谈到了环境照明,丹尼尔根本搞不懂那是什么东西,”她说。

Pam decided not to use the registry options made available by various stores, because she thought it was best for her sons to figure out what they needed.

帕姆决定不从很多商店都提供的大学用品购物目录中选东西,因为她觉得最好是由儿子自己搞清楚他们需要些什么东西。

“When you get to the college, emotions are running high and everyone is tense,” she said. “The best thing for them to do is go with their roommate to get what they need.”

“当你走进大学的时候,情绪是很高涨的,每一个人都会很紧张,”她说道,“对他们来说跟室友一起去买他们需要的东西真是再好不过了。”

After all, few campuses are going to be out of reach of a store where students can stock up, and some college bookstores even carry all the basics.

毕竟,几乎没有什么学校附近会没有商店让学生们囤货,有些大学书店甚至也会连带卖所有生活必需品。

I asked my group of parents what advice they would offer from their hard-won experience.

我问我采访的这些父母,从他们付过不少代价的经验中,他们会给出哪些建议。

Mr. Seman said that when he took his first son to college, they had bought so many unnecessary items, like shower curtains, “that I returned $150 worth of stuff to Target. With the second kid, I figured it out.”

塞曼说,他送他第一个儿子上大学的时候,他们买了很多不必要的东西,比如浴帘。“我把价值150美元的东西退回了塔吉特百货。到第二个孩子的时候,我就知道该怎么打算了。”

Also, tempting as it is, don’t buy six dozen bottles of shampoo at Costco to last the year. “There are plenty of places they can buy,” Ms. Berk said, “or if they want to buy in bulk, they can do it online.”

还有,不管多么划算,也不要在好市多(Costco)买上六打洗发水用一整年。“他们有很多地方可以买东西,”贝尔克女士说:“如果想要批量买,也可以去网上搞定。”

Kim warned against packing items in plastic bins. “We took them all down there and there was nowhere to put them, so we brought them back,” she said. “Use cardboard boxes or those big Ikea bags — those have been a godsend.”

金警告说不要用塑料箱运东西。“我们把箱子带过去,那里根本没有地方放,于是我们又把它们带回去,”她说,“用纸箱或者那些宜家(Ikea)大袋子吧——那些东西简直是上帝的恩赐。”

Ms. Berk said she had discovered the wonders of space bags, which allow you to pack and then expel all the air. “That’s how we packed all the items that could be compressed, like bedding and down jackets,” she said.

贝尔克女士说她发现了那些真空袋的神奇之处,它们能让你把东西装好,然后把所有的空气抽掉。“我们就是这样收拾那些可以压缩的东西的,比如床上用品和羽绒服,”她说。

Don’t send anything that you don’t want beer spilled on or nail polish dripped on, Kim said, and don’t buy anything, no matter how sensible, that your child just won’t use.

金提醒说,任何你不想被啤酒或者指甲油弄脏的东西,都不要送到学校去,还有,不要买任何你的孩子根本不会用的东西,不管那东西多么有用。

“The college made a point of suggesting you have a lock for your computer, because kids tend to leave doors open,” Pam said. “We know a girl who lost two computers. You can also bring the lock to the library. It seemed like a good idea.”

“学校提议你们给电脑上个锁是有道理的,因为孩子们经常出入不关门,”帕姆说:“我们认识一个女生,丢过两台电脑。你还可以带把锁去图书馆,这似乎也是个不错的主意。”

But, she recalled, “we went through all sorts of gyrations to get the lock installed. We had to call a friend who lived in the suburbs to get a drill to drill a hole into the desk.” And did her son use the lock? “No.”

不过,她回忆道:“我们找遍了各种钻子,好把锁安上。我们还得打电话给一个住在郊区的朋友,找来一个钻头,在书桌上钻洞。”而她儿子后来用过那把锁了吗?“没有。”

This, however, seems like an easy, workable plan: Kim said she scanned all of her daughter’s important papers, like her birth certificate, driver’s license and high school records, onto her computer so she and her husband would have access to them if needed. Then her daughter took the originals in a colorful rubberized letter-size holder, like a laptop case.

而接下来这个倒似乎是个简单可行的计划:金说她把她女儿所有的重要文件都扫描进了她的电脑,比如出生证、驾照和高中成绩表,好让她和丈夫在需要时就可以查找得到。然后那些原件就装在一个颜色鲜艳、信纸大小的塑胶封面文件夹里,像个笔记本电脑包一样,让她的女儿带走。

“Everything she shouldn’t lose was in there, and it was bright red so it stood out,” Kim said. “It went under the mattress.”

“所有千万不能丢的东西都在里面,而且那是鲜红色的,一眼就能看到,”金说,“结果它被扔到床垫底下了。”

The most important thing in the end is not the Ikea desk or the Target sheets you buy. Instead, my advisers said, you should remember that it’s your children going to college, not you.

说到底,最重要的事情,还不是你买的那些宜家书桌和塔吉特百货的床单,而是像我这些导师们所说的,你应该记住去上大学的是你的孩子,而不是你自己。

“If you take control away from them, it makes it even more stressful,” Mr. Seman said. “They’ll make some horrible decisions, but let them make them.”

“如果你把他们的控制权夺走,就会造成更大的压力,”塞曼说,“他们肯定会做一些荒唐的决定,但就由他们去吧。”

And please, don’t be the parent who sends rolls of quarters overnight so her son or daughter can do the laundry.“The guy at the post office said he’s had a parent do that,” Kim said.

还有,求你了,别成为那种连夜给孩子寄一筒一筒硬币好让他们能用投币洗衣机的家长。“邮局的那个人说他见过一个家长这么干的,”金说。

Really? We’ve come to this? Please, stop yourselves before you mail again.

真的吗?我们都到这种程度了?那求你了,别再寄第二次了。
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