As we are narrowing in on Col's college choice for next year, it seems fitting that we visited the alma mater this past weekend. Being around the 'ol stompin' grounds again brought back some great memories for both Joe and I. Like two sappy middle-agers, we walked the sidewalks and paths that we took over 20 years ago reminiscing about this person or that one, what we did and when, and how much fun it all was. Gees, those college years were great.
College choices now are a lot harder to make these days. You have such pressure to have a great GPA, high ACT score and class ranking. There are "personal statements" to write and applications to be filled out with all of your accomplishments of your very short life so far. We didn't have all of this back in the day--you pretty much picked a school and went there. No fuss, no muss. We didn't plan for college starting in kindergarten and our parents certainly didn't start saving for our schooling the minute we were born. We went to school and we figured out the finances. Today is very different.
Yes, community college is the smart way to go if you are the least bit wary of finances--I did it and survived. I transferred to WIU two years later and fit right in--it worked and my classes transferred. But there was always those two "missing" years of being away at college that I will always miss. It was incredible to be a part of a university and I get giddy when I talk of my time at Western.
As I stood there Saturday, misty-eyed at the sight and sound of the WIU Marching Leathernecks playing our fight song, I knew this is what I want for Colin. I want him to be a part of something grand--wherever that may be. I don't know how I'm going to fund 4 years at college, but I'm going to do my best to see that he goes.
Do I want him home with me? Yes. Do I want him to be safe here? Yes. Do I want to make sure he is studying and working hard at school? Yes. But I also want him to live too. I want him to make choices--good and bad and live with the consequences. I want him to meet some great and some not-so great people and know the difference. I want him to meet students from other cultures and be introduced to thinking that is outside his own. I want him to feel a part of a great institution, whichever that may be. I want him to become the person he was born to be--and to do it without my hovering.
Most of all, I want him to stand at his alma mater and grow melancholy at the mere sound of his old fight song.