My Wallet Shed a Tear
I have a high school Junior. I have a HS Junior whose grades and test scores are right where they need to be for institutional scholarships at most Arkansas Universities. She would like to go out of state, my wallet and retirement fund would like her to stay put. I hope we’re starting the college search early enough. We did informal tours of a couple of campuses last year. I took her to local colleges whenever we traveled just to give her some perspective on campus size and the college environment in small towns versus big university towns. We plan to do several more visits before the school year ends. I’d like to have her short list ready by the start of her Senior year. She would like to visit Rhodes, I would like her to visit U of A and Hendrix. Not because I don’t think she should go to Rhodes, but because my wallet sheds a tear when I look at the cost of attendance analysis. It might have wept openly at her mere mention of Notre Dame. Our oldest graduated from U of A after a nine month stint in Belgium where she learned first hand what young adult apathy in a depressed economy looks like. She enjoyed her time in Faytown and I think she feels she got a good education and is now in Grad School. Our middle was there behind her but didn’t form the same bond with the University or the town and came home to UALR after 2 years. I don’t want the youngest to go to a school she isn’t absolutely sure she wants to attend just because it’s a school we can afford or because her siblings went there.
The small one had the chance to spend the night and attend a number of events at a local private university affiliated with a religious institution. I sent her because I know their reputation for having one of the best music programs in the state. But she discovered very quickly, all by herself, that this was not the place for her. I’m glad I made her go on this lengthy visit instead of just a tour. She was able to experience things that she would never have seen or heard had she not spent 18 hours on campus. I’d love for her to have the opportunity for that level of involvement at every school she’s interested in attending but I know that is unlikely.
I’ll continue to pretend it’s my wallet that is crying. Truth be told, I am ready for her journey toward independence to begin. I want her to have the experience of living away from home. I want her to build all those skills that will make her a successful adult. I need her to spread her wings and fly. I’m just not sure how far away from home I can let her fly. Yet.