My daughter left for college the other day. She had never lived away from home before, so I had some trepidations about the adjustments to be made. My mind was eased, however, when I read the note she had left for me. Dear Mom,

I know these first days will be hard for you. You might forget what we spent so much time discussing lately--you know you don't remember things when you're upset--so I'm writing a few reminders down. Please try not to lose them.

1. Remember to eat properly. Just because I'm not there to watch you is no reason to slide into sloppy eating habits. It took no little effort on my part to get you into yogurt and grain bread, and I would hate to think of you sneaking those cheap candy bars between meals again. Remember that someone your age is going through a lot of physical changes and a balanced diet is essential. Besides, you know sweets still give you zits.

2. Get to bed on time. I know how you tend to stay up late reading, but you need your rest. Even the brightest minds cannot perform well without sufficient sleep. And don't rationalize that you can make up for lost sleep on weekends.

You and Dad will probably stay up till all hours on weekends watching those old movies on TV without me there to tell you to turn down the set.

Also remember that I won't be around to wake you if you sleep through your alarm. I know how easy it was to rely on me because I had to be up so early for school. But this is one of the many little responsibilities you will have to take on for yourself now that you are on your own.

3. Learn to keep track of your money. I won't be on hand for you to borrow from when you run short, so make sure you keep enough cash on hand. And do try to spend your money wisely. (Remember that fake fur you bought on final sale that made you look like a pregnant chipmunk?)

Perhaps it's better if you don't make any major purchases until I'm home on break and can advise you.

4. Try not to call too often. It's only understandable that especially during the first few weeks we're separated, you'll want to call many times. But it's important to realize that "little" calls can lead to big bills.

Dad and I have agreed that you must be disciplined about this. We love you, but you do tend to talk on the phone too long.

Why not try sending me letters? You always had a flair for writing.

5. Visits should be kept to an agreed number. Too many visits add up to too much expense. Besides, they interfere with one of the most important lessons college can teach: the gradual weaning of parent and child. I know you'll be lonely, but just keep busy and soon Thanksgiving will be here and we'll all be together again.

Mom, perhaps all this sounds a bit negative to you, but I don't mean it to be. My going off to college should be a wonderful experience for you. Without me there, you will have the chance to truly be on your own. That can be a little scary but it can also be very exciting.

I'm sure that you will take this new step in stride. And if you get a little low sometimes, just remember that I love you very much and that I'm proud of you. Always, Your Loving Daughter

P.S. I took your red blouse, your black evening shawl and your burgundy leather vest. Don't be mad. I never told you before, but all those colors look awful on you.