As 2005 begins to unwind, I find myself looking over the shoulder of my eighteen-year old a little more often these days. It doesn’t seem that long ago. Ouch!
We spent a good part of this year calling on colleges. Some far away, some right here in our own backyard. I’ve got to admit, it was quite a learning experience for everyone involved. Although I know most of the university presidents around here on a first name basis, I can’t say I really knew their business all that well—until this year that is.
The closest I came to college was visiting my buddies to party at Kent and BGSU in my late teens and early twenties. As easy as it was to get into those schools then (and believe me, they wouldn’t let either of my buddies into those schools now) it still wasn’t a place accepting of my scholarly standing.
Fortunately for me, I married a really smart girl and my daughter received more of her genes than mine.
From the iconoclastic campus of Stanford to the stately and gothic Boston College, what once was a far-fetched dream for me turned into quite a reality for my daughter this summer—and quite a decision.
Let’s see, should she consider a bucolic, sparse liberal arts college like Sarah Lawrence or the quite urbane NYU? Liberal-liberal Oberlin or the crowded campus of OSU? The studious University of Chicago or suburban-preppy Lake Forest?
The choice and differences between higher education facilities in this country is just mind-numbing. For her to be even able to consider one of these places is an accomplishment that astounds me—let alone trying to figure out which one is the right one for her.
But for all the brains god and my wife granted my daughter, it still seems to be coming down to a good old fashioned decisional crunch time. While she currently frets over the minutiae of application information, she still doesn’t have a worldly clue what she wants to do in her life. Arghh!
And that’s really OK with me; I would never want to push her in any particular direction. It just pains me to see her agonize over it; knowing the decision she needs to make right now, will shape much of what she learns—and ultimately does for the rest of her life. Maybe it was good thing I took the path I did?
She’s really blessed though. Good grades. Good study habits. Artist. Writer. Musician. Activist. She could choose any of a dozen or two paths and be incredibly successful.
And that’s the problem. Which place to go next in her life seems such an ominous decision. Unfortunately, there’s nothing a dad can do now except wait—and not push (words of wisdom from my wife.) The hardest part for me is just letting it be. She just told me I don’t understand girls. I guess I don’t.
But what I’m most left with after all this…
It really wasn’t that long ago that I held the little hand of a an infant girl with all the wants and worries a new dad can possibly possess. How can it be eighteen years already? The need to make a major life decision now is somewhat balanced for me by the pride of being able to hang in there for the last eighteen years and allow it all to go flowing by.