Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pick Me. Choose Me. Love Me.

What you’re looking at is one day’s mail for an average high school sophomore. I think there were 17 schools that were parading their wares in front of her that day. We have a drawer-full of similar mail that continues to come in daily.

Let me repeat – she’s a sophomore. A nice girl, with pretty good grades. But she knows about as much about what she wants to major in for college as she does about how to run the washing machine.
She checked "music" as a possible major on her PSAT tests and so now she is being courted by a host of venerable institutions that would impress even Yo-Yo Ma. That's great, but she's more American Idol and less Yo-Yo.

Still, they’re out there, bidding for her attention. She just turned 16. She drives, but has not yet filled up the gas tank without me to guide her. Thinks she knows everything, but deep down, understands she hasn’t yet touched the tip of the iceberg of life.

How the hell is she supposed to pick a college?

They’re creative, these colleges. Some send pretty envelopes. Some send folksy, homespun letters. Some try and dazzle her with promises of doting professors and rock-climbing walls (seriously) and stunning campuses that I’d like to live on. Each one wants her to believe that when she gets there, she’ll be special.

I’m her mother. I know she’s special, but the reality is, once she’s a freshman on one of these campuses, she’s just another number. Special only in that she will have a unique student number to which they will attribute various and sundry fees and services for which we will pay a pretty penny.

I come from a generation whose parents commonly didn’t go to college. They were clueless in how to advise us. We had a choice of one, maybe two schools.

Today these kids are blitzed with choices when they are not even halfway through high school. They’re asked to make decisions, BIG decisions, which will result in life-changing consequences. Honestly, no matter how informed you are, it’s a crap shoot, at best.

We’ve been through this lottery once. It ended differently than we expected, but for the best. Our son is at a great place for him. Could it be that luck will strike us twice? I can only hope.


At 6:25 PM , Blogger kenju said...

Somehow I think with you for her mother, she will make a good choice. I do think it is a bit early for the schools to be mailing people her age.

At 7:35 PM , Blogger Sarcasmo said...

We went through this experience with our girls, one right after the other. When the oldest was being courted, a neighbor, was getting some mil from graduate programs. The mailman just brought all the college mailings to our house. Even hiss.

At 8:41 AM , Blogger ~Easy said...

My kids are in the gifted program here. Two colleges started sending us stuff when they were in the 1st grade, with more being added to the mix every year.

Of course, none of them are offering us any MONEY yet.


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