Going to college is going to change you. You’re an adult now. Generally speaking, most things will be different. You’re going to have to go to the doctor, buy groceries, and think about if skipping the gym is really the right decision—all on your own. It will be fun to branch out by yourself, but it will also be terrifying.
That doesn’t mean that you have to let go of one of the most wonderful things about childhood—your birthday. Birthdays in college are a whirlwind. Some people remember, some don’t. Oftentimes they don’t feel as special as they did when you were a kid, but that’s okay.
Having your parents plan your party, your cake, and your presents may have seemed lame in high school, but you’ll soon realize that all of that fuss about you and your plans was amazing. It made you feel special. It made you feel as if for one day a year, you were the only thing in the world that mattered. That’s something you’ll find yourself missing for the rest of your life, so take advantage of your possible proximity to your parents now, while you can.
You may be tempted to stay at college for your birthday and just celebrate with a few friends, but I implore you to think a little differently. Your first birthday at college will be hard on more than just you; not being able to dote on you will hurt your parents. It may not seem like it at first, but they’ll realize that you’re indeed growing up. You won’t always need them to plan everything. That realization will hollow them.
If you have the ability, go home for your birthday. It doesn’t even have to be your actual birthday—just go home to celebrate with them. Maybe they won’t buy you a bunch of presents like they did when you were a kid. Maybe they won’t plan you a special birthday party or buy you a cake. But they will be there. Sometimes, that’s all they really need to be for it to feel special.