Our family is in the throes of checking out colleges for next fall. In truth, Darrell and I had wished this whole process would have started a few months ago, but the person at the heart of where to search did not feel it was necessary at that time. Consequently, with early August application timelines just around the corner, we’ve looked at one college so far, with two more scheduled for this week and the next.
We really liked the college we toured a few weeks back. Drury University is a small, private college in Springfield, Missouri. I was surprised that the dorm featured its own bedroom within a four-person suite. The students share the bathroom with just one other person—that’s a better gig than Tyler has at home! Tyler seemed to like the school, but we’re checking out larger schools as well. I don’t think he realizes what a totally different atmosphere there is with a larger, state school. So those are still on our “to do” list in the coming months.
One of the things that’s made this process difficult is the fact that Tyler is just not sure what he wants to pursue for a major. I don’t think that’s so unusual—how many seventeen-year-olds have the life experience to know what they want to do for the next sixty years of their life? Over the past two years we’ve attempted to get across to him that he needs to start thinking about where his skills and interests lie. And while we’re trying to steer him into getting a feel for what classes are really interesting to him and go from there, he seems overwhelmed with the notion that he will be making a decision that will affect him for his entire adult working life.
Ironically, many of his good friends have already graduated from high school and have gone through the process of selecting and attending schools. Some have gone away to colleges, some have gone to the Community College and at least one will be living in a dorm on campus at the local University here. He seems to be waiting to get a great epiphany from how their experiences turn out. Not a bad plan as long as he realizes that he is his own person with unique talents and interests.
My college experience was as close to community college as it gets. I went to the University of Missouri in St. Louis, which, at that time, was only a commuter campus. I went to class full-time and worked part time all four years. I was in a sorority, but other than that, it was pretty much going to class and going home/work. I changed my major from Elementary Education to Communication about halfway through, when I decided I loved kids, but not necessarily their parents. After I graduated, I worked in the student loan industry; a far cry from my major that involved Public Relations, but I did get to use my writing skills on the company newsletter, developing training and commenting on federal regulations and policies. All of the things I did in my first job out of college were not things that I had even really considered as career choices when I was choosing what to major in.
So the search continues and we are learning together how all of this works, from FAFSAs and admission essays to student housing and meal plans. It’s a lot different from Darrell and my college experiences. Mostly, I wish Tyler would realize that he has great potential to do whatever he chooses, and now is the time to see that blank slate stretched out before him—before he has a mortgage. I can only hope that his dad and I can hammer that point home!
Do you remember making these decisions? What motivated you? How did you decide where to go to school and what to study? I’d love to hear your comments!