Monday, October 22, 2007

College Visit Part Deux

What happened to Part One you might ask. The answer is that it is off in the celestial bit-bucket somewhere. It was on the screen when I left the house last night for a little blue-grass break, but MIA when I returned home. Of course, my laptop was MIA as well, having dissappeared into the troll-hole known as my son's room. Upon being returned to my room later last night, the post had been mysteriously expunged.

Oh well. Hemingway it wasn't.

I had been writing an account of how my daughter and I spend the long weekend visiting a university in the adjoining state as part of her college selection process. While we were doing that, my son was up north with his uncle, supposedly helping to close up that family's summer cabin, but in reality was submerged in marathon movie watching as the skies emptied and deluged the countryside.

It was a weekend of rain throughout this part of the world, which, while putting a damper on some things, is actually a good thing for the land in general due to the effects of an ongoing drought that had stuck around like a bad relative all summer.

So it was that Number One and I set out early last Thursday for a five-hour drive to the southeast. We were in monsoon conditions for the first half of that, after which the skies partially cleared and the rain turned to intermittent.

The visit itself was conducted in two separate paths - hers and mine. I dropped her at one of the student dorms upon arrival where she was going to stay with friends and then I went off in search of my luxury, 3-star hotel room that I snagged on priceline. I was a bit underwhelmed with the result - a rather worn looking room in an aging concrete structure bearing the name of a major hotel chain, with a view of a railroad track, a parking lot, and a mysteriously shrouded RV towing a trailer parked off to one side. Plus, I had to pay extra for internet connectivity.

Oh well again. I still paid quite a bit less than the advertised rate, though I suspect they keep a whole flock of such rooms just for the priceline cheapskates like myself. As it turned out, I spent a relatively small amount of my time there, returning only slid into my coffin for the mandatory rest periods. Otherwise I was out and about, exploring the city, sampling the available cuisines, quaffing the occasional adult beverage, and even snuck in a movie (an excellent Michael Clayton).

I did hook up with Number One each morning as she requested the availability of a shower and a few early worms to be dropped into her open beak. After said operations, we joined the mass migration toward the campus and the hunt for one of the dwindling parking spots prior to queuing up for our orientation video followed by a guided walking tour of the campus.

We spent the afternoon hiking up hill and down dale, through buildings and even, one one stop, packed our entire little tour group into a model dorm room which reminded me of several similar occasions in my own past where a dorm room was filled to overflowing, except this time I was an adult and extremely conscious of my personal space boundaries being invaded and how the temperature of the room quickly rose into the parboil range as we all stood around in our wet heavy jackets marveling at how little dorm rooms had changed over the past half century.

In the time it took to complete the walking tour, we saw a representative portion of the campus. This particular university is quite large, and though it is contained within a contiguous campus area, it is far too big to be seen in one walking circuit. That being said, I think that making this visit was good for us and the information gained will prove useful.

Number One was fairly circumspect however when later asked for her opinion of the process. She seemed a bit pensive (or comatose from lack of sleep due to the previous night's festivities) as we were having a spot of early dinner after the tour. I found myself wondering whether she was seeing this upcoming transition in her life in a new light. Until now, she has been completely submerged in her high-school experience and college appeared (at least to me) to be a rather unsubstantial extension of the same, but off in the foggy future.

Last weekend however, it was very real as we joined thousands of other prospective college families who were gathering information, reviewing prospects, and giving the various campuses and surrounding communities a calculated look-see. One of the things we did following the walking tour was to attend a small group session conducted by an assistant dean of the College of Letters and Science, the college where N.O. would spend her time. The presenter was a particularly entertaining individual who clearly enjoyed his work and managed to convey quite a bit of pertinent information in a short period of time while keeping his audience laughing and engaged. I particularly liked the messages he was passing to the prospective students about the seriousness of their upcoming endeavor and the potential pitfalls they would face along the way. I wish that I had been exposed to the same information before I set out on my own flawed college journey oh so long ago. I could tell that it had an impact on my daughter. I wonder if she were not having to rethink her perspective a bit.

All of that serious stuff quickly disappeared as her cell phone signaled incoming text messages outlining the plans for the upcoming night and I then dropped her at the dorm for another night of her personal investigation of college life.

I went off to see a movie, tour the scene around the state capital building, and indulge in a really excellent habanero relish condiment for some mahi-tuna tacos found at a corner brew-pub.

The next day, the sun shone through a cloudless sky and we began our drive home - round one of the college visits completed.


Blogger lime said...

ah, thanks. you gave me a glimpse of what next year will consist of for me. glad to hear it was generally profitable and positive. how things do change....

7:12 PM, October 22, 2007  
Blogger Cheesy said...

What a blast! I miss visiting the kids at college... I had so much fun...

Fish Tacos!! My fav!

2:18 PM, October 24, 2007  

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