The First 30 Days of College: New places, new faces and classes too

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Watching Emily’s entrée to college has been something like watching the manic episode of a kindergartner at her first trip to an amusement park. There are lots of fun things to do, and so many people to meet and new places to try.  And the freedom of running from this thing to that one is exhilarating!  We’ve talked to her on the phone maybe once or twice a week, and the words come spilling out so fast she can barely keep up with her own thoughts.  She is under a magic spell, at least for now, and it is so gratifying to see.

If we could record her phone calls, and then play them back on a slower speed, I’m pretty sure we’d hear her describing her classes – they are tough, but she’s prepared; her friends – from all over the world, and fun and interesting; her roommate – sweet, but stoned much of the time; and her new sorority – big, happy, and supportive.  No wonder she’s manic.  College is like going to a candy store and getting to try one of everything.

There have been some challenges and minor disappointments, too, but the net benefits so far outweigh the costs, she’s not letting any of the bad stuff spoil her fun.  I did get a call yesterday morning, with a moaning child on the other end, “Mommy, I’m sick.”  She’s got a cold, and a little fever (probably because her new sorority sisters have her so busy she’s not sleeping).  “Can I take Advil and Nyquil?”  She wanted to know?  We both know she’s going to be fine, but she wanted me to know she wanted me.  I was appreciative.

We’ve had a question or two about “allowance.”  Who pays for the Zip Car when she has to go to Target for more room supplies?  If there isn’t any good fruit in the cafeteria, will we spring for some fresh apples?  Where do we draw the line in purchasing home furnishings for a shared 10’ x 10’ dorm room?  So far, it’s all deliciously new for both of us, and we are enjoying the journey.

There are other things we didn’t know before Emily went to college.  Back to the roommate, it turns out, it’s only barely against the rules to smoke pot in the state of Massachusetts.  One quick Google search, and I now understand that if Emily’s roommate is caught “in possession” as they say, the consequences likely will include confiscation of her weed, and at worst a $100 civil fine, with no other form of civil or criminal punishment.  Who knew?  All part of Emily’s ever-expanding world.

We’re still new at this, and still working hard not to pick up the phone or send a text every time we are tempted, but with every passing day, and each little piece we get back from her, we grow more confident, and proud, of Emily’s path.  After the year or more it took to get her where she is, we are just so relieved she seems to be in the right place.  Perhaps there is truth in what the college counselor says, after all.  They usually end up where they are meant to be.

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  1. Ah the independence! Ah the new experiences. And the sheer fright of being out there alone, without the “got your six” of parents who have shepherded the young ‘un till now.
    One gets the sense that this kid is better prepared, both with information and from upbringing, to cope with the maelstrom of freshman year than most of us were back in the dark ages of the last century.

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