Lisa writes: After high school, many of our kids go on to college. Unlike in other countries, this transition is made seamlessly and without more than a summer break. We send our eighteen year olds off to their next stage, often without knowing if they are ready to go. Many have the option to stay home and attend a local university or community college but legions march off into dormitories every year for their first real taste of living alone.
When my older kids made this journey, I was, at first, unsure as to whether they were ready to go. I looked at them over their high school years and could not fathom their independent life. But then things began to change.
I have largely come to grips with the underbelly of aging, the image in the mirror. But this weekend I was at The New York TimesSocial Media Summit listening to 20 and 30-somethings expounded on how Twitter and its brethren have forever changed traditional news gathering as we know it and, for a moment, I could not help wishing that, once again, I was turning 30 and here is why.
Lisa writes: Over on the Motherlode blog at The New York Times, writers KJ Dell’Antonia and Hope Perlman discussed the importance, or lack of importance, in attending a prestigious college. The two thoughtful back-to-back pieces laid out the opposing viewpoints on chasing admission to an excellent college, a process that begins early in high school, versus chasing one’s passions and seeing where that might lead. Perlman’s piece focused on the benefits that can accrue from attending a well-known college in terms of contacts, and later jobs, and despite hoping her daughter becomes a happy well-rounded adult, she would like her to have this opportunity.
Dell’Antonia’s rebuttal stated that ambition would lead to success and that it ultimately matters what you do with your education, not where you obtained it. She theorizes that she will not care where her kids attend college when the time comes.
I am going through junior year in high school, for the fourth time.
First, in the late 1970s, I endured it myself. Then as the mother of three I watched my boys battle through this long tough year, struggling with their academic and athletic schedules while trying to visit colleges, navigate a minefield of standardized tests, have a social life and learn to drive.
It is an exhausting process for both parent and teen, fraught with emotion as our kids prepare for the next stage in their lives. At Grown and Flown, I have explored my journey towards the empty nest and there is no question that 11th grade is the first step on that journey. Here are some suggestions to help them on their way: Continue reading →
With two high school juniors, college admissions is a hot topic at both our houses. We all agree that it was much easier when we applied to school and wish it wasn’t so brutally competitive for our kids’ generation. To try to understand why things have changed so much, we did a little digging and here are the facts: Continue reading →
Mary Dell writes: Fall is my favorite season. Along with the just-turning foliage, comes the return of my preferred spectator sport – college football. My passion stems from the Friday Night Lights elements of my upbringing and the four years I spent in Austin at the University of Texas. I am a genuine Longhorn fan and spent many happy game days at the UT Stadium. But the real reason I love college football is that our son, a college senior, is a big fan, too. Now a fun and shared pastime, following the sport during his teenage years was more like a lifeline that kept our relationship afloat.
While he was in high school, our son developed the evasive skills that all teenagers acquire fielding questions from well-meaning neighbors, family members, and perfect strangers. Where do you want to go to college/ have you taken your SATs/ what do you want to major in? Against that backdrop of inquisition, we had moments when our disagreements over studying, tests, and college applications would have made for excellent reality television. More recently, we have had a few “animated discussions” as we both adjust to his young adulthood status. Continue reading →
Mary Dell writes: Long ago, our house became one of the favorite destinations for the kids’ playdates and we have a big, brown, furry family dog to thank. During our 20+ years of marriage, we have actually owned four (!) chocolate Labrador retrievers beginning with our engagement gift puppy to the dog who joined our almost empty nest two years ago.
Of all the dogs, though, Argus, a Christmas present to our then six-year old son, was the rowdiest, matching up in temperament perfectly with the pack of energized little boys who came over to play. As he trained his unruly pal, our son gained a playmate and confidante, alarm clock and buddy; in fact, he gained a brother. The years of puppyhood, with chewed possessions and indoor “accidents,” are distressing. But witnessing your grown child saying goodbye to a now-aged dog as he leaves home for college Continue reading →