There is a lot of sign language in our house. Not American Sign Language (although there is a lot of that too. But that’s a topic for another day.). I’m talking about more physical signs—the way a pile of rocks used to mean “turn here” or a piece of wood painted with various animal parts means “you can buy food and drink here.”
There are the subtle signs of spring. The annual Switching of the Comforter for Lighter Blankets. The delivery of huge piles of mulch that will sit, blocking the driveway, for weeks on end. The lone tulip that means “you forgot to plant bulbs last fall. Again.”
There are the signs of Things To Be Done. A pile on the stairs clearly means “Take me upstairs.” The silverware basket sitting on top of a clean towel which is the international symbol for “The dishwasher is clean. Please help empty it.” The appearance of a basket of clean laundry in the family room which means “if you’re watching tv, you’re folding.”
There are signs of Stress. No one fussing about the level of detritus on the kitchen table, but everyone fussing about an innocently raised eyebrow. The sudden disappearance of half of the ice cream in each container.
Any time you go to a new environment, you have to learn to pay attention to the sign language, the unspoken rules of How Things Are Done. College is no different. When you go to college, you will have to learn to speak an entirely new sign language. Some of the signs will be obvious; some will be much more subtle. And you will probably make mistakes. Freshman do that. But in no time you will be a pro. Just keep your eyes open, your brain (somewhat) engaged, and your empathy turned on and you will be fine.