Road Trip

25 Apr

This is destined to be a repeated theme—the road trip to explore college choices. I imagine it conjures up all sorts of memories of time spent with your mom. Or, was your dad your college visit companion? Or, did you not visit colleges because of your mom (and/or dad’s) history, philosophy, etc.?

This is a timely topic that surfaced when my daughter and I visited colleges this week. My most vivid memory of my own college road trip is the one that just my mom and I took to tour Cornell. I still remember thinking she was a great sport—she helped set me up to stay in a dorm and get the full experience. She did not mind being left on her own as I hung out with Cornell students—getting to know their college culture, eating the amazing Cornell food and “traying” down the snowy hills. Yet, the most memorable part of our trip was the ride home-through a huge snowstorm. I can still picture the highways in a state of complete white-out. I do not know if my mom was as frightened as I was, wondering if we could possibly get home safely. She was a great driver and must have stayed calm because it’s my own shivering that I recall. What a trooper she was—taking me on such a long journey, staying alone in a hotel and navigating a dangerous drive home. Teenagers are often unappreciative of their mom’s efforts and I often modeled that stereotype, but I think she knew how grateful I was for that trip.  Cornell did take away some of my pride when it did not accept my application; yet, that disappointment could not take away the great road trip with my mom

Fortunately, this recent college road trip was much easier—a plane ride with some long, but picturesque driving. I also stayed alone in a hotel, but found great music and food to enjoy on my own. I did not suffer, in fact I felt indulged. Maybe my mom did too. I can only hope!

I know that we have a long road ahead with the entire college process and just hope that we continue to create great memories. What do remember about college exploration with your mom? Or, if your dad was your research partner, why was it him and what involvement did your mom have? How do (or did) you plan to make the experience with your child similar or different? How can we use this special time to cement the good relationship we want with our own children?

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One Response to “Road Trip”

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster April 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    My experience was so different! I was so driven to do things my way, I graduated high school and moved out at sixteen. I went to the University of Oregon because it was barely more than a mile away from my childhood home. My mom didn’t have money to send me on trips or otherwise, but she was proud I went to college. (I recently found a college graduation tape that concludes with her saying these words. I was so overwhelmed with joy to find she’d been captured whole and healthy, and that those words were part of that keepsake!)

    It was a different experience for law school. My primary objective was to get out of Eugene. After a trip to Los Angeles, I thought it’d be even better if I could end up there specifically. I ended up at UCLA, which I attended having never visited the campus nor considered anything more significant than its placement in Los Angeles.

    My son’s far, far too young for me to seriously consider his college education, but I do think about it some days. I wonder if he’ll go to Yale like his dad, or UCLA like his mom, or somewhere altogether new to us. I’m so, so happy to be setting aside a little chunk of change for his college every month, and delight in the thought of someday helping him find the place that works for him.

    Thanks for giving me the chance to see the experience through your eyes!

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