Here’s What College Looks Like

Laptop, cords, books, binders, desk supplies, lamp, desk, chair, water bottle or two, bed and poster.  What’s off-screen is the flat screen, cords (this is a guy’s room, so it’s all about electronics and cords), dresser and closet.  Footlocker and suitcase are under the bed as storage.
During your own eighteenth summer, you were so curious; you simply wanted to see what college looked like. You had formed an abstract concept of this magical thing called ‘college,’ but you longed for concrete images in order to put your mind at ease.  The whole concept of the ‘unknown’ is so hard to grapple with.  You just needed to ‘clap eyes on,’ (as your Grandmother used to say) your new surroundings and get the lay of the land. You wanted to walk across campus, enter your new dorm, and see what your dorm room looked like.  You wanted to meet your roommate.  You wanted to find one buddy to accompany you to ‘walk your new schedule’ and find the dining hall.  Once you did, most of the fearful apprehension dissipated and you were left with excitement and anticipation.
This year’s incoming freshmen class will be able to create their own space and their own community, a minute and a person at a time.  The good news is that they don’t have to live all four years in one day. College will unfold, an experience at a time–the comforting everyday routine, the first football game, the best party, the best place to get Sunday pancakes, the worst party, and even the boring Saturday night.  Again, even the ‘ho hum’ day is something everyone experiences–it gives you the gift of down-time to bond with others who are around, and to settle down into everyday life.
All of the accomplishments that your son made last week are amazing.  All of the transitions, adjustments and learning experiences–packing up and then unloading his life in order to set up a whole new world for himself; setting up checking and savings accounts; applying for a first credit card; handling ATMs as well as so many new numbers:  pins, student i.d., social security, rooms numbers and so on.  Also figuring out online class registration (no more waiting in line with 780 other students in a hot gym–those days are long gone) and times and courses and hours and loads and dropping and adding and hunting down buildings and libraries and attending convocation and hall meetings.  And then, the time management skills:  studying; roommate time; making new friends; signing up for an intramural sport; finding clean clothes (note to guys:  girls do their laundry on Sunday afternoon) and deciding about the whole eating thing (note to girls:  when not at the dining hall, guys are at the Five Guys, Chic fil A, sub chains, wing chains and the local pizza place).
Your son has now viewed the ‘unknown’ and seen that it is fathomable, doable–a minute at a time.  One class at a time, one calculus assignment at a time, one online Bio test at a time.  And having done the last Bed, Bath and Beyond run for the shower curtain for the suite, you found the transit bus that goes to Target and Wal Mart, in order to get milk, cereal, and…more cords.
You and your husband feel a powerful surge of pride.
Finding the Longhorn where Mom and Dad can take you for dinner:  priceless.
© ReelingintheYears, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given toReelingintheYears with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


A freelance writer who revels in the 1970's...and today. Thoughts on being a baby baby boomer and empty nester. Welcome to the Saturday evening porch.
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