19 June 2015 (For all of the work I do in my every day real life, with linear thinking engineers, I am not a linear poster, like a few of my faves such as Lady M and Ms. A *sigh*). I’ve avoided looking in my drafts folder for a reason and then realized that many of the drafts are still relevant, if only to me. My absence as of late as been self imposed and I don’t know that I’m prepared to share what’s been going on these past 3-months. But, I will delve into my drafts and see what makes the cut. Maybe by the time I’m done, if anyone is still following, I’ll go into disclosure-mode, as much as possible. So without further preface…~IsMe
Just over 8- months ago I wrote a short post about my oldest and the process students here in the States go through in order to apply for college. What I didn’t add to that post was that besides the pressure mentioned, there was the additional pressure, from within themselves but from parents and school administrators and the general area in which we live, to apply to *only* top tier schools. The usual Ivy’s, Service Academies and of course; Tufts, Stanford, Georgetown, Boston College, Northwestern, NYU, Barnard, Columbia, USC, UC Berkeley, UCLA, or at minimum, Parson’s, Rochester, Scripps, Dickinson, Williams, Middlebury and the list goes on and on. While 40% of kiddo’s school receives some sort of financial aid or merit scholarships. The majority do not and a subset of that majority, roughly 30% do not need aid of any kind. Let’s put it this way, these are the families that tell their kiddo’s to apply to only the best schools, no need to worry about the cost. Yup, that is so not our situation. Then again, DH and I have always agreed that our kiddo has to have some skin in the game. Whether it’s a scholarship that holds her accountable to maintaining a certain gpa, working to pay the difference between what we’ve saved and what she may receive in scholarship money etc.
Many of her classmates and friends did indeed apply to Ivy League schools while many did not. It almost became. No it did become this awkward time when parents would talk about nothing else. What schools are the kids applying to? And if your kid wasn’t applying to a top shelf school, why not? There were three mom’s in particular, yes, mom’s, that eventually the rest of us had to avoid. They were so opinionated and adamant in their belief that if the rest of us didn’t push our kids towards an ivy league school we were failing them. And those of us that were encouraging our kids to seek out schools that not only had the programs they were interested in but a community and environment that they would be active in and happy-well then that was akin to child abuse! One woman in particular, I’ll call her Taria, went so far as to say that “being happy” and having a “collegiate experience” isn’t what college is for. It’s to focus, get good grades, get into an even better graduate program and get that good job. Being happy and fulfilled is for when they’re well on their way. Hmm. Of course Taria knew exactly what she was talking about from experience. She did nothing in school except study and sing in choir. She didn’t socialize until her studies where done all and she graduated from her high school as the valedictorian. She went on to one of the Ivy’s for undergrad and got her juris doctorate from another Ivy. Passed the bar on the first try and got a job with a prestigious firm on Wall Street. Where she worked for exactly 8-months and 11 days. She has spent the last 21 years working part-time as a Montessori Teacher. Yet instead of taking great pride in a career that shapes young minds and clearly she loves, the first thing out of her mouth when meeting someone new is “My name is Taria, I’m Jessina and Laura’s mom. I have my law degree from Yale, where did you go to school and what do you do?” I’m venting about her in particular because of the way she lorded over all of us her opinions and her conviction that Jessina would be going to a prestigious school and if not, then they would not be paying for any of her education. Not one of the 4 students with the overbearing mom’s were accepted into *any* of their top tier choices. Could it be that colleges are looking for more well rounded applicants? You know, those kids that are able to demonstrate a breadth of activities besides sitting home and earning straight A’s? Like the one classmate that is a world ranked, yes, world ranked, squash player and missed a good chunk of school each year? Or the one that worked three jobs to support her family, managed to play 2 varsity sports and have perfect attendance? Or is it the young artiste that didn’t have the best grades but was recognized regionally and nationally for her evocative and visually stunning paintings? It got to the point where after the first round of early decision and early action notifications came out, the students stopped talking about colleges while the parents were on the proverbial wait and see watch. Sometime during this wait, this article hit my dashboard and it was quickly shared amongst the parents of our graduating class.
As it is, 100% of the graduating class was accepted into 4-year colleges and universities across the United States and even a few international schools (because Canada is indeed a foreign country!). The average was a whopping 9.8 per student. Wow. Almost all received some type of merit scholarship and 10% of the class were awarded full-ride’s based on academics. Many are staying locally or at least on the West Coast and attending big state schools that consistently sit in the top 25-30. More than half are attending small liberal arts colleges on the east coast. And a select few have been accepted into very specific arts related programs whether at NYU, Parsons School of Design or USC Film. So you see, everyone has landed where they needed to land.
Between November and the present the road has been up and down and an all-around adventure. Kiddo #1 was fortunate to have many schools to choose from and in the end, she chose what is the best choice for her. She met the fabulous Lady M on the weekend she also won a national award in an area that’s dominated by men 9:1, there was family drama, best friend drama, school drama which didn’t involve her directly but she ended up speaking up at the risk of what every 17-year old fears, the bane of their peers even if it is the right thing to do, playing in what she thought was her last competitive soccer season, prom, injuries and ultimately, celebrating her 18th birthday, registering to vote and graduating earlier this month. I’m officially exhausted and need a nap 😀
The next 8-weeks is packed to the rim before we see her off on the next leg of her adventures.