College - Encouragement Guide Plan Example

STORIES OF ENCOURAGEMENT: College, University, Homesick, Care Packages, Leaving Home, Graduation, Dorm Life
Curated By
Therese Basham

Therese Basham is an independent Marketing and Communications Consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom to her son and daughter for the past twenty years, she has remained engaged as a free-lance marketing communications writer, photographer, and videographer. She recently joined the Association of Professional Photo Organizers and is now helping individuals bring order to their digital and physical photo and video collections. Therese is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied marketing and psychology.

The Encouragement Situation:

When my goddaughter decided to go away to college in another state, I knew it would be a difficult transition for her. She is an only child of a single mom, a committed homebody, tremendously introverted, and super driven to succeed. The prospect of leaving home, sharing a room with strangers, and handling the pressures of college was daunting for her. I was so proud that she made the decision to go to school in another state to pursue her dream of graduating with a degree in architecture. I knew it would be important for her to maintain contact with people from home in order to stay grounded and keep the homesickness to a minimum before she could return home for winter break. 

What My Goddaughter Might Be Thinking:

  • I've never had to share a room before. Will my roommates drive me crazy? Will I drive THEM crazy?!?
  • Will I have the right supplies for my classes?
  • Will I be able to find food that fits my vegan lifestyle?
  • I hope I can do the schoolwork. Architecture is a really hard program.
  • I'm from the Midwest and I'm going to school in the South. Will I have the right clothes and gear?
  • I'll miss watching reruns of "Glee" with my mom. 
  • I'm not very outgoing. Will I be able to make new friends?
  • I don't always enjoy group projects or speaking out loud in front of people, so I'm nervous about participating in my classes, some of which might be quite large.
  • What if all my high school friends forget about me because I'm going so far away for school while they are all going to our state school?
  • I have two classes that start at 8:00 a.m. and I am NOT a morning person. 
  • I'm going to miss my mom like crazy. 
  • I'm going to miss my pet dachshund even more - she's like my sister!

  •  Relationship to You: GODDAUGHTER
  • Age Range: 14-18
  • Relationship Status: SINGLE
  • Occupation: STUDENT
  • City: KENOSHA, WI
  • Music Preferences: POP, ROCK, ALTERNATIVE
  • Style & Lifestyle: TRADITIONAL
  • Product Quality: PREMIUM, ECONOMY
  • Hobbies & Interests: VEGAN, MUSICALS, POLITICS
  • Sports & Recreation: YOGA, RUNNING
  • Media Preferences: ONLINE, PODCASTS
  • Faith & Religion: CATHOLIC

How I Created the Plan to Encourage My Goddaughter:

  • Week 1: Words & Phrases (Free): You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Week 3: Gifts & Goodwill ($50): Waterproof backpack with pockets for cell phone and water bottle.  
  • Week 5: Audio & Video (Free): "Glee" Musical Performance of "Rise" on YouTube.
  • Week 7: Gifts & Goodwill ($15): Architect Scale Ruler.
  • Week 9: Words & Phrases (Free): Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. - John Dewey
  • Week 11: Gifts & Goodwill ($30): Box of homemade cookies and a stuffed dachsund dog. 
  • Week 13: Words & Phrases (Free): You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. - Maya Angelou
  • Week 15: Audio & VIdeo (Free): Susan Cain's TED Talk - The Power of Introverts.
  • Week 17: Gifts & Goodwill ($38): Vegan care package of snack foods.
  • Week 19: Gifts & Goodwill ($25): Starbucks gift card. 

Encouragement Plan Summary:

  • Time Frame: 5 Months
  • Total Cost: $158
  • Relationship Value: Priceless

Feedback from My Goddaughter on the Encouragement Experience:

  • Week 4: "Thank you so much for the backpack. I had no idea it was going to rain so much down here and it's perfect for keeping all of my stuff dry!"
  • Week 6: "That's one of my favorite songs from 'Glee!' Love it!"
  • Week 12: "I can't believe you found a stuffed dog that looks so much like Pearl! Thank you so much for the taste of home."
  • Week 17: "The TED Talk was really interesting. I always thought being an introvert was a drawback, but this got me thinking about it in a different way."
  • Week 21: "The vegan snacks were a godsend from my Godmother! Thanks for knowing me so well. I'll see you soon!"
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