Vampire Weekend – Campus

Today my daughter and I toured another college campus. She’s a senior in high school and while we visited a bunch back in April, I had felt there was plenty of time to do schools in New England when we both had more time in the fall.

There is never more time in the fall, I don’t know what I was thinking. But summer isn’t really a good time since many college campuses don’t have much going on and work was super busy for me, she also had a summer job, so here we are.

I’m sure you all remember that I was not enamored with my college experience. While I have tried really hard not to make this whole process be some kind of attempt to re-do my own college search, I think I have some valuable knowledge and if I can help my kids have good options available to them, then I’m going to do what I can to make that happen.

I was talking with my mom this evening about the campus we toured today and she surprised me by saying that she feels badly now that she didn’t take me around to look at schools. I told her she shouldn’t feel that way because how could she have taken me anywhere, when we were living in Maine and I was determined to go south of the Mason-Dixon line. Plus, my junior year grades were, shall we say, not my best work so it probably would have just made my disappointment greater when I got all those rejection letters. Besides, with my oldest sisters at Yale, and my mother’s job at a small liberal arts college, it’s not like I didn’t already have an image in mind of what college should be like. Therein lies the problem; nowhere I could have gotten in was ever going to match up to my expectations.

My daughter is less specific about where she wants to go. I think it still feels so far in the future to her that she hasn’t been able to put herself in the mindset of being done with high school and away from home. Going on campus tours definitely helps. With the deadline to get her applications finished looming, I thought reminding her about the end goal might motivate her a little. If that backfires, I’m moving on to bribes.


  1. I’ve fluctuated between trying to motivate and cultivate a spark of excitement about college and complete and utter surrender to powerlessness over my high school senior. In addition to flat out refusing to take any standardized test, they are now refusing to do any early applications. In addition to falling in love with one particular school during an idyllic campus visit, they are refusing to add any more schools to the list. Not the thorough and option opening process I would hope for but I keep telling myself it will work out. Somehow. How? It’s a mystery. Hang in there. May 1st in a long way away.

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    1. I still like my backup plan of spending a year in Sweden with her grandmother, learning the language, then applying to university there and going for free. Like, if it were me, that would be my first option.

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  2. Augh, I feel this! We toured a bunch of schools and ultimately just gave her anxiety. She wound up graduating a year early (to get the hell out), getting into a couple schools (a huge university in our state and a very small college in Canada), not liking either option, looking at another round of applications, meanwhile taking community college classes, realizing she was not doing any work on the applications because her heart wasn’t in it, and deciding to go to music school in our city so she can live at home and stay out of debt. In other words the option she selected was the very option she insisted, a year ago, that she absolutely would not do. Good luck!!

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    1. Ha! Thanks for the good luck. Also, how frustrating that all sounds. I think my daughter will land somewhere but I’m certain that where that ends up being would be a better fit if she were willing to put in a bit of effort.

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      1. Where they end up will be a reflection of where they are at the time. I’m sure they would choose differently now than they will in May. That’s why our stress now is about making sure they have options come May.

        However, who they become is not dependent on where they end up, it’s ultimately how they grow wherever they end up. I had the two extremes. First I attended a school that did not fit me which became a tight place to react against from the inside. Then I went to a place with endless possibilities, a place pushing me in so many directions from the outside it was dizzying. In many ways the first bad fit helped me learn who I am more than the second. There’s no one right way.

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