I am pleased to announce I am officially the mother of a prospective college student. ME! Yes, me!! Truth be told, I’ve dreamed of this moment for the past 16 years and nine months.
Well, that’s probably not the right way to frame my status. This is probably healthier: my daughter has reached the milestone of prospective student and I’m along for the ride. But dammit—I am so excited for this ride!
It’s almost impossible for me to have attended college and worked in higher education and not reminisce about that moment I fell in love with my alma mater. It was during a campus visit and, out of nowhere, the mountains I’d taken for granted now looked majestic as the backdrop of campus. I am living proof of the phrase we so often hear from campus partners: “If we can get ‘em to visit campus, we’ve got ‘em.”
With this thought in mind, our family has plans to visit more campuses than the average prospective student. Our (my) enthusiasm is probably most comparable to that one Disney fanatic we each have in our lives. Our growing collection of campus memorabilia is quickly becoming problematic, with my husband reminding me just last night that our kid’s closet can’t take many more bulky hoodies. Nevertheless, I see a few more half zips in our future (after all, he didn’t specifically mention half zips).
My daughter and I have visited a couple of campuses and her narrowing of institution type, size and region of the country is well underway. And my role of supporter, rather than decision-maker, is feeling more and more comfortable as I see her take control of her future. We’ve now attended a college fair and I’ve stood back and let her lead the conversations with the admissions team. I’m comfortable with the knowledge I’m only there to carry the inevitable collection of pens, pencils, stickers and viewbooks.
With this post, I’m issuing a warning to my friends and colleagues. I’ll surely have plenty of social media posts and blog entries about the highs and lows of the college search process, application process, enrollment experience, and eventually empty nest status. I’m promising to fill our telephone and in-person conversations with the latest twists and turns in my daughter’s journey and my overthinking of each step along the way. And I’m asking you to join me in the joy that is seeing your child grow up, spread her wings and fly.