Tag Archives: college

Boys, Girls, and College

boys girls collegeI had plans to write a really funny and witty post about the differences between boys and girls and the preparation of college, but I may be falling a bit short (can’t you tell by my title?).

I had this brilliant idea to interview some friends who had experienced their son, daughter or both going to college (like I had the best idea in the world, because, umm, I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been done before).

I’ve been sitting on the results for a couple months. Results that really aren’t as dramatic or drastic as I thought they would be. Or surprising.

What I discovered is that boys prefer to just bring three to four pairs of shoes (holes and all), whereas girls will load an extra car full of them (as one friend put it, “enough for a display at Nordstrom”).

As if they might die if they come across an outfit that doesn’t have the perfect shoe to match. And they might. Actually, they probably would based on personal experience.

We should have bought stock in Steve Madden had we known it would be a problem.

In my opinion, college should be about sweatpants and Skippy’s but I didn’t go to college so I suppose my opinion doesn’t really matter here. Although, I did live in concert tees and Adidas in high school so I can’t be that far off.

I learned that girls need to have utensils, matching dish sets and a glass for every occasion.

You know, for those elaborate dinner parties they plan on throwing on the floor of their five foot by five foot dorm room. Chances of the Queen of England showing up is pretty slim, but you never know.

A boy? Oh, a Spork will suffice. Preferably plastic so they don’t have to wash any dishes. For those of you who don’t know what a Spork is, it is an eating utensil that looks like a fork but can be used as a spoon. I’m guessing this is the greatest invention for college boys since, well, condoms (which also happens to be an “essential”).

Boys need to be reminded that they should probably start a list, as well as reminded not to forget underwear and socks (not ALL boys mind you; some are very organized and a bit anal, but not many so don’t get too excited, moms of boys who have yet to experience the joys of college prepping).

Girls have their lists drawn up, laminated, and notarized by mid-April.  And their items all bought and organized alphabetically a month prior to their first day of class.

Girls need to take stuffed animals from their youth, photos of every friend from here to Timbuktu, pretty little lights, and stationary. You know, in case they want to write a letter.

Although today’s youth can barely write script and tend to send thank you cards via Facebook, but I digress, and that’s a topic for another time.

Boys are more simplistic. I saw some photos of boys dorm rooms on Facebook and with the exception of one or two, most are fine with a college pendant and their letter from high school football.

Don’t let a girl in there, boys. If given the opportunity, they will fill those blank walls. And fast I’m sure of it.

The long and short of it is that boys focus on functionality and don’t stress out. For girls, it’s all about the decorative touches, and the stress levels are through the roof. Like, duck if you see it coming. Like, “Sybil” crazy stress.

How are they the same?

They both pack snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Pretty much enough snacks to last nearly four years. And depending on how far or close they are, they packed enough clothes for two to four seasons.

I don’t know why that last sentence surprised me. I thought for sure a sweatshirt would be good enough to get a boy and/or a girl through winter (if my memory serves me right, winter coats were an unnecessary piece of clothing at the school drop off line).

That pretty much sums it up. Girls stress out if they don’t have enough shoes and matching mugs. And boys can get by with crocs and a fork you can eat soup with.

So, for all of you with inquiring minds, who were losing sleep over it, there it is. You know what to expect. Either run for the hills, or accept the idea that you will have to do a lot of hand holding.

Whatever the sex of your child, college is a pretty cool experience. So, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. It’s over before you know it.

Running Around Naked With Scissors

60ccf2df6085019eb4bc1636128d0296Two weeks ago, we dropped The Kid off at college. As we were leaving, DH teared up, The Kid teared up because DH teared up and I teared up a little. Okay. That’s a lie. I cried. A lot.

We left her behind in her new place. The place she will call home for the next four years. A place where she will lay her head every night. A place that may be unfamiliar now, but in time, will become familiar.

I was worried as all mothers do, about many things. Will she be homesick? Will she meet new friends right away? Will she like her roommates? Will she like college in general? Will she be safe?

Will she miss her parents so much that she cries herself to sleep? How about her dog? Will she miss him? Her bedroom?

These thoughts ran through my head on the drive home. These thoughts gave me anxiety throughout the evening, keeping me from a peaceful sleep.

And then it happened. It happened almost immediately. I started receiving pictures of her and her new friends. She was smiling, happy, carefree and worry free.

And my heart lost the heaviness it was feeling for the last 24 hours. Then it got even better.

I received this text from her: “I’m not homesick at all! I’m having the best time!”

I took a deep breath. The first deep breath in hours.

I shrugged my shoulders, said to myself that our job was done, and welcomed our new status with open arms.

And I’m gonna be honest…

BEING AN EMPTY NESTER IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!

DH and I are getting to know each other again. The couple we were before our child. Before the stress and worry of raising a person.

We can run around the house naked if we want. And I do. DH doesn’t because he thinks the neighbors can see. But I say, it serves them right for looking in our window. One look at me running around naked in my present physical condition, and they will learn their lesson. They will learn a big lesson. And fast.

S-E-X (it does sound less naughty when you spell it out, doesn’t it?) somehow got better. Before we would plan it out, triple-dead lock our door, spend twenty minutes hanging up sound proofing material (I caught my parents a couple of times when I was a kid, and believe me it is nothing you can ever unsee).

During it all with one ear open to hear if The Kid got up to go to the bathroom or was yelling out for one of us. By the time we got down to it, the mood had usually passed. (I’m joking about the sound proofing, but I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it at the time.)

Hmm, let’s see…what else?

Dinners are less of a hassle because I don’t feel the need to have to actually cook a nutritious meal for my kid every night. Her room stays clean. And there aren’t thirty-two pairs of shoes at the back door by Thursday.

I can take my bra off at the end of the day or not wear one at all if I’m hanging around the house on the weekend without hearing these words, “mom, my friends are coming over.”

There is nothing worse than putting those babies back in the cage. I have apologized to my breasts more times than I care to admit. There should be a law about how many hours we are allowed keep the girls bound up each day. But I digress.

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I may not be hanging from the rafters yet, but it could happen.

We can just get up and go and do what we want when we want without worrying what The Kid wants to do or is doing. We see friends more often. Laugh more often. Spend more quality time together.

Do I look forward to seeing her next month at Parent’s Weekend? You betcha. Am I looking forward to spending almost a month with her when she comes home for winter break? Hells yeah. Do I miss her? Very much so.

Do I look forward to her emptying the dishwasher because I dislike that chore more than scrubbing the toilet? Can I get a ‘HECK YA!!!”

Do I love being her mom and cherish the last eighteen years? Without a doubt. I wouldn’t change a thing.

But it was time. It was time for her. And it was time for us.

Children are only meant to be with us for a short period of time. They are not meant for us to keep.

We are here to teach them how to grow into respectable, functioning adults. To be able to contribute to society. To be well-adjusted people who can raise some kids of their own.

It’s her time to be independent. It’s our time to be ourselves again.

So, to all you parents who are raising kids and are wondering how you will do when your offspring fly the coop? It’s okay. You will be okay.

Welcome it, embrace it, love it. It’s freaking awesome. Except when you have to empty the dishwasher.

 

You Say You Want to Go to College? Be Prepared to Give Them Your Blood.

Pint of BloodI am not a connoisseur of higher education. I barely made it out of high school, so the idea of college for me never even entered my mind.

With that being said, I know college thirty years ago is not the same as college now. Not only has the price of college gone up dramatically since the mid-80s (500% — I looked it up) but it has gotten extremely competitive.

I’m surprised they don’t ask for your first born. But I’m sure that’s coming.

It starts with taking your sophomore/junior on the college rounds. Making a list, checking out schools, going on tours. You spend hours, days, nights driving, flying, staying in hotels. (Never mind the cost of all that. No offense, but I know an island I would rather have spent my money on going to that includes palm trees and Pina Coladas served on silver platters by cabana boys. But I digress.)

You get the typical spiel — they are all the same — from each school.

They cover what your ACT/SAT scores need to be, make sure you’re well rounded — GPA, job, extracurricular activities, community service, sports. Blah blah and more blah.

And you better make sure you show a real interest. What does that mean? Go on a tour or two. Or three. Call them, email them, send them a love letter, be in their face. Literally.

But guess what? It isn’t enough.

The Kid goes to a public school where she is getting an awesome education. One of the top high schools in the state.

Her class is extraordinarily smart. The Kid is smart. She gets good grades. I will say, her GPA suffered a bit because of her head injury at the beginning of the year, but she still meets the criteria. She takes extremely difficult AP classes and works hard.

She is community service girl, does sports, competes in dance, belongs to several clubs at school.

She meets all of the requirements and even exceeds some, for every single school she applied to.

But guess what? It’s not enough.

We let her apply to eight schools. She wanted ten, but we had to stop the madness somewhere. In my opinion, eight is ridiculous but we allowed it nonetheless.

Within the first couple of months, she heard from five of the eight. She got in each one with no problem. She received some merit scholarships and was even accepted into honors programs.

But none of these schools were her top choice. No. The top choice we would have to wait for. How long? Another three nail biting, sleepless months.

So, the day is coming up. We’re all a nervous wreck. Stress dreams fill our heads at night (yes, me too because you want your kid to be happy even though you know she’ll be just fine no matter where she winds up).

You wake up, check the college portal and find she’s been waitlisted. Tears ensue and dreams get crushed.

You say to your kid, “but, you met all the requirements. You wrote a kick ass essay, you gave them what they asked for.”

It wasn’t enough.

I am finding out it’s not just her. The smartest kids in her class, and friends she knows from outside of school, are not getting into their “dream” schools. These kids are no slouchers.

Kids who exceed 4.0 GPAs. Kids who excelled at and even got perfect scores on their SATs and/or ACTs. Kids that are the top ten in their class. Kids that work, do community service, sports, meet and exceed all the requirements necessary.

What the hell is going on?  Like I said, I am no connoisseur when it comes to higher education, but I don’t need to be to know it’s out of control.

I was talking to a friend whose oldest is about ready to graduate from college. They went through this process four years ago and she says it has changed even from just that short time ago.

These schools need to chill. Seriously. They need to stop with the 50-60+ grand per YEAR sticker prices, so kids can actually afford to get an education.

They need to stop with the ridiculously high demands they put on these children, so kids can stop stressing out and enjoy their childhood instead of starting to build their resume at the tender age of five.

I get that schools need to be competitive. I really do understand the need for that. But at what expense? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it a bit excessive?

All I have to say is, I’m happy we have only one child. I don’t have the strength, energy or heart (or pocketbook) to do this again.

I hope my grandchildren don’t have to go through this. I hope something happens to force these schools to take it down a notch. The world would be a much better place. Then I could grow my nails back. And sleep again.

One Side of Empty Nest Coming Up

empty nestIn two years, DH and I will become empty nesters. The Kid will be going off to college. Because she is an only child, there is no other kid left behind to help retain our status of Full Nesters. Is that what they call that? If not, I just made it up. Catchy, isn’t it? Feel free to use it.

First of all I have this to say: WHERE THE HELL DID THE TIME GO? That cute little girl who looked up at me with those adorable blue eyes and blonde ponytails now looks down at me (yes, she is nearly 2 inches taller than I am) with now beautiful blue eyes. Gone are the ponytails, replaced by long blonde locks.

Needless to say, I pretty much blinked three times and here we stand. I was warned about children making time go by, but I never fully appreciated it until it happened to us.

Last week, as you know, The Kid went off for a week on a mission trip far away. I cried as I was hugging her good-bye because all I could think of was, “what am I going to do without you? How am I going to manage not seeing you around for a whole, entire week? Not able to communicate because cell phones are off-limits during the day? Who will empty the dishwasher?” That last one is particularly true, because quite honestly, I really hate emptying the dishwasher. I just do.

She will be back in a couple of hours. Yes, it was odd not having her around. I missed her. I did. But there was one thing I realized as the week went by…I am going to be just fine. I spent a couple of days with a dear friend of mine who I don’t have the chance to see very often because she lives a couple of hours away. That was a bonus.

But what was even better was spending one-on-one time with DH. Although I always pretty much have known this, we have something in common besides love. It’s called like. We like each other and had a great time tooling around in the jeep, or on the boat, having dinner together whether it was at home or out. We could canoodle without closing and locking the door as if it were Fort Knox. Walk around in the nude if we so chose to.

I will be so happy to see her when she gets home. I can’t wait to spend time catching up with her on her week and ours. I’m not sure I’m completely 100% ready for her to leave for good, but I do know this: I will be just fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get dressed. 😉

School Is Cool. Unless You are Me.

Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Writing Prompt:  What was your least favorite subject in school?

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

I was not a student.  I’m still not a student.  While I will praise school and push the importance of education until the cows come home on my daughter, I did not continue education for myself.  Because I hated school.

What was my least favorite subject?  Let’s change that question to ask what was my favorite subject.  Actually, let’s change that question again to ask what was the only subject I liked.  You know, in the interest of time.

The only subject I liked was English.  Because it was the only subject I was good at.  And the only subject that interested me.  Being that I’m turning into a quasi-writer, I guess that’s a good thing.  At least I know where the some commas go.  And the difference between their and there.  And too and to.  And I know what a run-on sentence looks like although I always break that rule because in my head a run-on sentence gets my point across better even though everyone probably thinks I’m a dope and knows I’m making a major faux-pas. You should probably not start a sentence with “And” either but I do that because this is my blog and I can.

I did not like Math.  I still don’t know all of my multiplication tables.  Don’t test me because I will fail.  I love and appreciate History now but not so much back in the day.  I could give or take Science.

I absolutely abhorred gym because I was insecure and hated the way my legs looked in shorts.  I was scared to death of Dodge Ball.  (They finally banned that, didn’t they?  See, I knew what I was talking about.)  And I was so happy when I contracted Mono and my doctor said I had to sit out for gym for the remainder of the year.

I didn’t go to college.  I tried.  For 2 semesters.  When I was 20.  The company I worked for was giving me a full ride.  Guess what?  Hated it.  Even free.  Not only that, but I sucked at it.  Big time.  DH and my parents would say that I didn’t try.  But I did.  I just sucked at it.  Or maybe I just sucked at it because I didn’t take any classes that interested me.  I don’t know.

I used to be embarrassed when the inevitable question came up at play group…”what college did you attend?”  I had a speech for this.   I felt the need to explain myself.  Every time.

Now?  The answer is, “I didn’t go to college.”  Period.  End of story.  It’s taken me years to get to this place.  My daughter said to me a few years ago, “You know mom.  You can go back to school.  You aren’t too old.”  It made me realize that I had no interest in going back to school.  And that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my choice.  It’s my choice.  And I have to live with it.

My daughter doesn’t seem to have much of a choice.  It seems that these days you need a degree if you want to be a Professional Ass Wiper (that’s not what she wants to be, I’m just saying that you would need a degree to be one).  But I digress.  Wow.  I just realized that I really digressed.  A lot.  Geez.  Sorry about that.  What was the question?

Oh, right.  So, that’s my answer.  Math, History, Science and Gym.  I didn’t mind Recess.  Oh, that’s not a subject.  Or the answer to the question.  I forgot.  Never mind.

299 Days Till Summer

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School starts tomorrow.  How?  I mean, I thought I was ready.  We got The Kid her school supplies.  We went shopping at the mall and purchased some clothes she didn’t need.  I didn’t spend as much time with her over the summer as I used to be able to because I’ve been working.  But on my days off, we did things together.  So I feel like we got plenty of quality time in there nonetheless.

I didn’t have to work this weekend, so I had 2 beautiful days in a row to spend with my family.  Something I haven’t done in over 3 months.  We went kayaking, had a BBQ at a friend’s house.  Spent time on the boat.  No housework.  No stress.  Just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.  All was good with the world.

Until we got home.  DH wanted to go to our favorite sushi restaurant for dinner.  I was just about ready to go when I noticed the “You Have a Message” light flashing on the answering machine.  It was The Kid’s principal wishing everyone a happy first day of school and blah, blah, blah.

I say “blah, blah, blah” because I didn’t hear anything else.  Those words started me blubbering like a damn baby.  I don’t know what happened.  This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year according to Staples.  I couldn’t stop sobbing.  And when I say sob, I mean it.  Snot, snorts, hyperventilating.  The works.  The Kid thought I had completely gone mad.

I spent the last week yelling at her for one thing or another.  “You’re not responsible enough, you’re not being committed, you should have practiced more, get over the fact that I have the same running shoes as you.”  This past week was a little more stressful than usual.  So why wasn’t I thrilled that in a mere 12 hours, the school bus would be whisking her away to school?

Because in about as long as it takes to hit the play button on an answering machine, I realized that she is going off to college in 3 short years.  I realized that she will be driving in less than one year.  I realized that she may not need me as much as she did when she was 5.  I realized that the last 15 years flew by as fast as the speed of light.

So, she’s going into her second year of high school.  It’s all good.  I’m happy that she’s happy and healthy and smart.  Thinking about her flying the coop is tough.  Most of the time.  You might want to check back with me in a few days.  This time next week I’m sure I’ll be bitching about something.  Wait.  What time does the school bus come?

Go To School

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Except I can spell. I really can.

I have been looking for a position that utilizes my skills as an administrative assistant for a long time.  The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be anything available.  I was starting to feel a little self-conscious.  Is it my age?  My lack of work experience these past few years as I was home raising my child?  Or the fact that most admin positions I applied for required at least an Associates Degree?

My parents always said my nonchalant attitude about school would bite me in the ass.  I can still hear their voices — “You really should try to do better in school, you’ll be sorry one day.”  “You are wrong and I don’t care” was my generic response.  I was having way too much fun cutting class, getting into trouble and well, having fun.  Who needs an education?  It turns out I needed an education.

I feel like I am limited to what I can do because of my lack of education.  (Unlike Paul simon, my lack of education is hurting me some.  Too bad I can’t sing or take good pictures.)  Hence, I have spent the last 15 years shoving the education thing down the kids throat.  I made a game of it.  Up until her first day of pre-school I made her believe it was The Most Fun Ever.  Going to school to learn was going to be better than playing a game of Cherry-O’s.  Me, the girl who bragged if she got anything higher than a “D” on a test, was telling her 4 year old that school is better than a ride at Disney World.

And she actually believed me.  She takes school pretty seriously.  As for me, I know it’s not too late.  My bestie — mid-forty something — just graduated from Nursing School.  I am in awe of her.  She is my hero.  But I shall live vicariously through her.  Because even though I may preach it, I do not want to practice it.  For me, I have missed the boat.  For me, school is not a ride at Disney World.

So, I found a job.  It is not an admin job.  I’ve kinda given up on that for now.  I’m doing something I haven’t done in close to 30 years.  And it’s called Retail.  Stay tuned and I’ll tell you more about it.  Just so you know, that’s why I haven’t been blogging.  Because I’m exhausted.  So go to school kids.  You will need that education.  I get the feeling you will need it for everything.  And I mean everything.