Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Feature: The Ups and Downs of College Freshmen...and Their Parents
I'm typing this from a hotel room in Connecticut, having spent the day at a parent orientation. My daughter starts her freshman year of college in two months, and while she's on campus for her orientation, the staff at the college is spending time gently ushering parents into the new phase of life that is to come.

I made it through graduation with barely a tear. ("Pomp and Circumstance" got me, but I'm blaming that on classical conditioning). I grinned and applauded as my daughter received her diploma, largely because she was grinning. And proud.

This morning, I was genuinely amused by the enthusiasm of the orientation leaders, even as they whisked my daughter out of the car and into a dorm. I was more bothered by the lyrics in the music that was blasting than the efficiency with which my daughter disappeared.
But the speeches to the parents this morning? Those got me.

Mostly, it was the fact that they caught me off-guard. I thought of orientation as, you know, getting oriented. Figuring out who's who, what's what and which things are where. I wasn't expecting to be part of an opening ceremony which was billed as "saying goodbye," let alone a direct discussion about the changes we'd be going through as parents.


Once that was over, though, there were some good things to be heard. And so, in the spirit of this new phase of life, I wanted to share some information along the lines of what I heard this morning -- information that focuses on the ups and downs of college freshmen which, as it turns out, often follow a pretty predictable path.

I was warned that these next two months will go quickly. I was given advice about letting go and increasing responsibility. As a former school counselor and a current college instructor, none of this was surprising.

What's surprising is that eighteen years flew by so quickly.

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