Monday, January 25, 2016

Journey to College: Senior Year
Last summer, we took a trip to Boston. We got to do lots of vacationy things, but the main purpose of the trip was to visit colleges. We'd determined ahead of time that we were doing this in an "enjoy the visit and explore" mindset; checking out college campuses was just part of the vacation. We identified what we liked, what we didn't, refined the list and came closer to reality, but didn't quite walk through that door.

We did a few scattered visits closer to home before summer drew to a close, ushering in the school year and "perfect the essay" time. My daughter was working part time last fall, and between her school schedule and her work schedule, there was no time for additional visits. The essay assignment came and went in English class, with the applicant never really satisfied with what she'd written. Thanksgiving break -- "perfect the essay" time -- also came and went with no further progress on the common app schools, but acceptances from those schools that required their own applications. Perfected common app essay or not, my daughter now had somewhere to go after graduation.
And then it was Christmas break. Common application deadlines loomed. On New Year's Eve, the essay got its final polish and was plugged in and sent off to the remainder of the schools on her list. We could breathe a brief sigh of relief, knowing all the while that the FAFSA lay in wait, a new set of blank fields to fill in with demographics, social security numbers and bank account balances.

It wasn't until we took down the Christmas tree that it really hit me, and if I think about it too much right now, it's likely to run me over again. The last Christmas celebrated in just the way we've come to expect and perfect over the last eighteen years. A rite of passage.

And today, as I look out my window at the nearly three feet of snow that prompted a snow day, I have that same sense of finality again. Next year, there may be snowy days, but they won't be snow days. The closer we come to warm weather, the farther we travel from the summer of possibility. Spring will be filled with endings, in preparation for the beginnings that lie ahead. It's exciting, but it's also sad, a bittersweet celebration in which I finally understand why graduation is called "commencement."

But there's much to do between now and then, much to enjoy and celebrate.

Beginning with a snow day.


  1. This morning I was thinking about my storm-prep and during-storm worries about my 2 young adults (one in college, one out of college and on his own). I was afraid there would be power loss and my college student wouldn't be able to get meals in the dining hall. I was afraid my son wouldn't be able to dig his car out. I could do nothing to help either of them. They both are FINE, though I'm not sure if my son ever did get his car out. And then I started wondering if my parents were similarly worried when I was away at college in Scranton's snowy winters. And guessing...not.

  2. I remember you voicing those concerns, Barb -- and I'm glad your kids are okay!! Senior week looms right now...but I'm currently pulling a Scarlett O'Hara and thinking about that...tomorrow.