Monday, October 17, 2011

Close Encounters of the College Kind

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

     My daughter, K is a senior in high school this year. And I feel like she should be prepared for this. Ever since she was little, I have been constantly yakking about the importance of college. During spring break of her sophomore year my husband and I took her on a college tour. We drove across a good portion of the country. We went from Chicago to Nashville (Fisk University), from Nashville to Alabama (Tuskegee University), from Alabama to Atlanta, Ga (Clark & Spelman). From Atlanta, we went through So. Carolina, and No. Carolina, up to Virginia (Hampton University), and from Virginia, into D.C. (Howard University). Then from D.C., we made the 13 hour trek back to Chicago. It was a grueling wonderfully awesome (I was 13 weeks pregnant with K2.0 at the time) week long trip, but we felt it was worth it. Until K started bugging.

     First, she started wavering on her first choice. Now, that was fine with me. Just choose another first choice school. Therein lay the problem. She wouldn't/couldn't choose another school. Brochures and pamphlets have flooded our mail box. Emails are blowing up her phone. Colleges are holding seminars and open houses in our area. She is NOT interested.
     I have tried everything. I have tried to be understanding. I've tried giving up and deciding that college is her deal, not mine. I have tried to sweet talk her. I have tried yelling. I've tried being pissed. I've tried strong-arming her. I've tried it all. It seems like the only thing I accomplish is frustrating myself. Nothing worked. Nothing motivated her. When I asked her what her problem is, she whines, tears up, and tells me that she's overwhelmed at the "college process." She said, "It's my senior year. Why can't I just enjoy my senior year?"

     Now, I know some people are reading this and thinking, "Awwwww. Poor thing." Well, when she said it, I heard, "Filling out applications, requesting transcripts from my school's office, and asking teachers to write recommendation letters for me would require me to get off my butt, and do some something for myself."

     So basically, I've been forcing her to attend things. I've had to drag her to college fairs kicking and screaming. So, the 100 Black men of Chicago host a HUGE college fair every year, which over 300 schools attend, including all of the Historically Black Colleges, and even the Ivy Leagues. ~ Now, this is the fair that she fought me sooooo hard on. For days leading up to the fair, she complained and whined. She even tried to dig her heels in and tell me she wasn't going (now that, was funny. Like she had a choice, once I said she was going). The morning of the fair, she lolly-gagged around and sincerely tried to make us late, but I nixed all of her foolishness right in the bud.

     We visited the table of tons of schools. Some of the schools, she was interested in (Florida A & M, Amherst College), some of the schools, I was interested in for her (Spelman, Hampton U). She got a lot of information, and a lot of positive feedback. In the end, she finally made her school selections. Some of the schools that made the cut have been one the list since the beginning. Some of the schools are brand new, and some of the schools are HUGE surprises.

     But it was worth all of the headaches and frustration when we got in the car and K said, "Thanks mom. I'm glad you made me go to that."

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